The 2012 Annual Conference, "Community Service Restitution - A Range of Challenges & Opportunities," was held on October 28-31, 2012 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. This was the association's 17th annual conference.
The conference got off to a great start when members were welcomed to San Antonio by Mayor Julian Castro. Other local dignitaries who came by the conference to show their support included County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, Precinct 4; State Rep. Ruth Jones-McClendon, Disrict 120; and, State Rep. Jose Menendez, District 124.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Ana Yanez-Correa, Executive Director for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, did a wonderful job in setting the tone for the conference. She provided an informative and energetic address on finding solutions to problems facing Texas' criminal and juvenile justice systems.
She was ably followed by Chris Cannon. The latter is the acclaimed author of "Winning Back our Boys." Chris provided key insight into the lives of young people and most importantly how to effectively communicate with them.
No conference is complete without a luncheon speaker. Dr. Michael J. Gilbert, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio, delivered a thought-provoking critic on traditional justice policy.
Of course, there were countless other speakers, including Judge Laura Parker, 386th District Court, whose presentations helped to reaffirm and in some cases challenge the way we deliver community service programs in our home communities.
Finally, a panel of ex-offenders closed out the conference by presenting a message of hope. They spoke to a life-changing experience garnered from their past participation in Peace Education Classes while inmates at the Fabian Dominguez State Jail. Volunteers of the Prem Rawat Foundation facilitated the panel presentation.