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CPA, formerly the Connecticut Prison Association, is one of the nation's oldest non-profit agencies. It began in January 1875 as the Friends of Prisoners Society to work in the brand new field of criminal rehabilitation. The players and organization have changed; programs have been added, subtracted and revamped; and the definition of criminal rehabilitation has been redefined in a variety of ways since those early days. Through it all, their mission has remained clear: to build community by providing services that promote accountability, dignity and restoration for people affected by the criminal justice system.
Recently, CPA created and implemented a new Policy and Procedure Manual. At 157 pages long, this manual provides the policies and procedures for the function of all aspects of the organization, including: Administration, Human Resources, Finance, Staff Development, Records and Information Systems, Citizen and Community Participation, Program Evaluation, Information Technology, and Agency Development.
Maureen Price-Boreland, Executive Director of CPA, stated the rational for implementing such a thorough document: “CPA developed this manual as a means of providing comprehensive written guidelines for overall agency policies and practices.” In keeping with their mission, this guide will assist in the accountability and functioning of the day-to-day operations of CPA. The manual provides the detail for how things should be done, and is used as a measuring stick to improve how tasks are accomplished.
Developing such a document was a time-consuming process. Each department head was responsible for writing the section of the manual that pertained to their operations, was reviewed by all relevant board committees, and then reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors.
This lengthy endeavor has paid off, however, in a final product that assists in increasing accountability. It is something that all staff receive and sign off on, and is kept throughout the organization as a tool to reference when needed. As Price-Boreland stated, the manual “is part of the new employee orientation process within their first 90 days of hire. The goal is to have staff, in addition to the specific knowledge in their assigned programs, be familiar with general agency practices.”
Principles & Practices was a help to CPA as they assembled and reviewed the contents of the Policy and Procedure Manual. As Price-Boreland recounted, “Principles & Practices provided a great roadmap/checklist for identifying polices that should be included in the process. Principles & Practices also helped in the regular review of the document for the purpose of updates.”
Clearly, the development of this manual has helped clarify the policies and procedures of CPA for all staff, and for new employees to understand the goings-on of the organization as a whole. Overall, with the guidance of Principles & Practices, CPA has created a tool that will benefit Community Partners in Action as they move forward in their important mission to create a community of accountability, dignity, and restoration for those individuals affected by the criminal justice system.
Has your nonprofit implemented our Principles & Practices in an effort to improve the quality, responsibility and accountability of the organization? If so, please let us know! Contact Melissa Harris at CT Nonprofits at 860-525-5080, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.