“Both facilities awarded high scores”
Sheriff Michael L. Wade, Undersheriff Merle H. Bruce, and Captain Darlene Dailey, attended a national convention in Nashville, Tennessee to receive a certificate of accreditation for Henrico Jails West and East. This certificate earned by the Henrico Jails is considered a great achievement because it provides benefits such as improved staff training and development, assessment of program strengths and weaknesses, establishment of criteria to upgrade operations, and provide a safer environment for staff and offenders. The Henrico County Jail facilities represent the 12th and 13th jails out of 73 in Virginia to receive accreditation. Preparation for the audit began when the Sheriff’s Office contracted with the American Correctional Association (ACA) in November of 2000. The Sheriff’s Office worked extremely hard rewriting and revising 184 policies and procedures to ensuring the facilities operations and programs were efficient and effective.
Accreditation is the process of a team of two or more auditors from the ACA: visit and assess a facility through audits, reviews, hearings, and evaluations, to make sure they are in compliance with the nationally established standards. The entire inspection is based on a total of 454 standards that were thoroughly analyzed by the team of auditors. The 454 standards consisted of 41 mandatory standards, that involved life, health, and safety issues, which had to be passed with a score of 100 percent, and 413 non-mandatory standards involving security, inmate programs, classification of inmates, and inmate services which had to be passed with a score of 90 percent.
The audit for Jail West was conducted September 21-23, 2005 achieving 100 percent on the mandatory standards and 93.6 percent of the non-mandatory standards. The auditors were impressed with the professionalism of the staff, by the way they answered questions and performed multiple tasks in the fast paced environment. The auditors also found the offender work programs to be very successful with the inmates performing assigned tasks to maintain the facility.
Jail East achieved 100 percent of the mandatory standards and 98 percent of the non-mandatory standards. It is evident the auditors were pleased with more than just the effective security, knowledge of employees, and cleanliness of the facility, due to the high score they awarded Jail East. Moreover, they were thoroughly impressed and strongly supportive of the inmates drug program “RISE”, because the positive four-step program involves over half of the inmate population and allows the inmates to rehab and reflect on their lives.
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care
The Sheriff’s Office is also working towards re-accreditation with the NCCHC (National Commission on Correctional Health Care.)This health care accreditation consists of 72 mandatory and non-mandatory standards, which must be passed with a certain percentage established by national criteria. The NCCHC helps to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons, juvenile, and other correctional facilities.
The benefits of being NCCHC accredited will improve inmate health and the communities they return to. Accreditation will also help to strengthen organizational effectiveness, reduce legal judgments,and increase health service deliveries.
Virginia Law Enforcement Accreditation
Finally, the Sheriff’s Office has begun work toward accreditation of Court Security, Civil Process, Investigations, and Transportation sections through VLEA (Virginia Law Enforcement Accreditation.)
VLEA’s purpose is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in the commonwealth. This law enforcement accreditation will ensure the proper training level for law enforcement personnel, promote cooperation in all components in the criminal justice system, and promote public confidence in law enforcement.