NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The American Correctional Association (ACA) has certified five correctional facilities under the operation of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in its 143rd Congress of Correction.
According to the CDCR, an ACA certification is a national benchmark noting effective operations of correctional facilities throughout the nation. The Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, Calif., North Kern State Prison in Delano, Calif., High Desert State Prison in Susanville, Calif., and Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, Calif., received near-perfect scores from the ACA, according to the corrections department.
The CDCR has been the subject of ongoing controversy concerning the department’s ability to provide a constitutional level of medical and mental health care and reduce overcrowding in the department’s 33 facilities. CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard and California Governor Jerry Brown have remained adamant that the state is not in need of additional population reduction and further reduction would put public safety at risk.
“These hard-earned accreditations are only awarded to the best of the best in corrections,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard in a statement. “The ACA was aware of the class action litigation against California, so it sent its most experienced auditors to review these prisons. Their findings demonstrate these institutions are providing quality health care and inmate programs and are employing the proper use of segregation. These accreditations are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.”
The accreditation’s comprehensive review of correctional facilities evaluates nearly every area of prison operations including administration and management; fiscal controls; physical plants; conditions of confinement; rules and discipline; inmate programs; health care; food service; sanitation; safety and emergency procedures; use of segregation; incidents of violence; crowding; offender activity levels; staff training and development; and the provision of basic services that can affect the life, safety and health of inmates and staff. In all, correctional facilities must comply with 521 ACA standards and receive a score of 90 to 100 percent in all standards.
“ACA accreditation is a process to measure compliance with the U.S. Constitution, help end federal court oversight of many of our operations, improve efficiency, increase accountability, and ensure California’s prisons are safe and humane for staff and offenders,” Beard said.
The Correctional Training Facility received 97.9 percent, High Desert State Prison received 99 percent, Mule Creek State Prison received 98.8 percent, North Kern State Prison received 97.6 percent and Pelican Bay State Prison received 97.2 percent.
In 2014, Folsom State Prison, Centinela State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, Sierra Conservation Center and Wasco State Prison-Reception Center will undergo an ACA audit.