NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Correctional Association recently recommended the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office for full accreditation.
ACA auditors also recommended all five Davidson County Sheriff’s Office jails for national accreditation, the highest honor a correctional agency can receive from the ACA.
The auditors spent nearly three days evaluating the facility’s physical plant, life and 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 the audit is over, the facilities will 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,” said Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall. “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 is also currently serving as ACA president.
Jails that go through accreditation must meet certain national standards set by an ACA standards committee. The committee keeps up-to-date on the latest facility designs, technology, changes in the law and employment issues to ensure the standards are current. Nearly 400 standards are part of the accreditation process. Of those, accredited agencies must meet 100 percent of the 60 mandatory standards and 90 percent of the non-mandatory standards.
According to ACA, only 163 of the 3,400 jails in the United States are accredited.
“It is extremely important to me that we are seen as a model agency in the corrections industry,” Hall said. “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.”
The audit team will continue its review by spending two days at the DCSO training academy where more than 100 standards must be met. Training staff offer employees thousands of hours of training annually in 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.
Accreditation gives the DCSO increased defense against inmate lawsuits, a better system of documentation, better policies and procedures and a process for identifying problems and developing solutions, said Hall.
Official accreditation certificates will be presented to DCSO representatives in August during ACA’s 141st Congress of Correction in Kissimmee, Fla.