March 23, 2011
DCSO Recommended for National Re-Accreditation
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced Wednesday that his agency was once again recommended for full accreditation by the American Correctional Association (ACA). The announcement came shortly after ACA auditors revealed they would recommend all five Davidson County Sheriff’s Office jails for national accreditation – the highest honor a correctional agency can receive.
The auditors spent nearly three days evaluating the facilities in areas of physical plant, life/safety issues, documentation, and policies and procedures. The facilities received the highest rating of any previous audit with an overall score of 98.7. Although this audit is over, the facilities will continue to conduct internal evaluations annually and every three years ACA auditors will conduct formal re-accreditation audits.
“As sheriff, I am proud our employees pulled together and made this happen. It wouldn’t be possible without every level of our agency working extremely hard all year long. This process isn’t about the few weeks leading up to the audit, it is about how you do your job every day and taking your role as a professional in the corrections industry seriously,” Hall said. “Additionally, as ACA president, it is certainly a moment of pride that I can serve in this position and say that we have the only agency of its kind in the country fully accredited by this organization.”
Jails that go through accreditation must meet certain national standards set by an ACA standards committee. This group keeps up-to-date on the latest facility designs, technology, changes in the law, and employment issues to ensure the standards are current. Over 400 standards are part of the accreditation process. Of those, accredited agencies are required to meet 100 percent of the 60 mandatory standards and 90 percent of the non-mandatory standards.
According to ACA, of the nation’s 3,400 jails only 163 are accredited – approximately five percent.
“It is extremely important to me that we are seen as a model agency in the corrections industry. I want to not only meet, but also exceed national standards; that means from here, we continue to work on being the best corrections has to offer,” Hall added.
The audit team will continue their review by also spending two days at the DCSO training academy where more than 100 standards must be met and re-accreditation is expected. Training staff offer employees thousands of hours of training annually in subjects such as basic communication, confrontation management, mental health/suicide prevention, cultural diversity, CPR, correctional Spanish, and subject control. Specialized training includes firearms, expandable baton use, tactical restraints, and riot control.
According to Hall, in addition to creating a sense of prestige and pride, accreditation gives the DCSO increased defense against inmate lawsuits, a better system of documentation, better policies and procedures, as well as a process for identifying problems and developing solutions.
Official accreditation certificates will be presented to DCSO representatives in August during ACA’s 141st Congress of Correction in Kissimmee, Fla.