I am a member of the ACA...they have just recently begun a certification program for correctional nurses and managers. I have heard of only a few states/programs that will give correctional nurses an increase in salary if they are certified (NCCHC), and I am assuming it is the same for the ACA certification. There is another organization for anyone working in correctional medicine (Nurses, NPs, PAs, Social Workers, etc) - it is The American Correctional Health Services Association. ACHSA's mission is "to be the voice of the correctional healthcare profession, and serve as an effective forum for communication addressing current issues and needs confronting correctional healthcare. ACHSA provides support, skill development, and education programs for healthcare personnel, organizations and decision-makers involved in correctional healthcare resulting in increased professionalism and a sense of community for correctional healthcare personnel, and positive changes in health for detained and incarcerated individuals." They have state chapters and a National organization, and they have conferences throughout the year. The Southeast chapter just had one in Chattanooga (and it was very good!), and there was one in San Diego last week. I think there is another one scheduled in October in North Carolina. Can you tell I am a member of ACHSA as well?
I really believe that Correctional Nursing is a specialty that is recognized by the ANA, but really not recognized by the facilities/programs in which we work! It is up to us to advocate for correctional nursing and get the recognition that it deserves. Joining organizations and becoming active will help get the message out.