NEWARK, N.J. — The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) has named the Essex County Juvenile Detention Facility its Facility of the Year for 2013. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced the prestigious award, which recognizes excellence in health services delivery, correctional health care professionalism, commitment to continuity of health services and continual quality improvement.
According to a release issued by the NCCHC, the Essex County Juvenile Detention Facility (ECJDF) was one of 500 jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers across the country that was eligible for the award as part of the NCCHC’s national accreditation program. The facility has been accredited with the organization since 2004 and has been award back-to-back perfect compliance scores.
“We are delighted to honor Essex County Juvenile Detention Center for its demonstrated dedication to national standards, health care and improvement in outcomes for the young people in its care,” said Edward Harrison, CCHP, NCCHC president and CEO in a statement. “From its vantage of having seen health care delivered in correctional facilities all over the country, NCCHC is pleased to recognize Essex County Juvenile Detention Center as demonstrating outstanding performance this year.”
Prior to receiving the award, the ECJDF was rigorously reviewed and inspected by NCCHC accreditation officials. Inspectors looked at everything from health care standards and access to personnel training and privacy guidelines, and ultimately awarding the facility 100 percent compliance in June 2013.
“This national award from NCCHC is an indication of the high level of care we provide to the juveniles who are in our facility and demonstrates our dedication to providing an environment that maintains and promotes the health and safety of our detainees and staff,” DiVincenzo said. “I commend our staff at the Juvenile Detention Center for making sure our facility meets the highest national standards not only for this accreditation, but each and every day. Their professionalism and devotion to duty are the reason we are recognized as a model throughout the state.”
In recent years, the facility has greatly expanded its programs and educational offerings, which DiVincenzo also believes improved the facility’s score. “From opening an on-site library, offering a full-day education program and providing first-class health care, we are committed to giving our detainees the resources to get their lives back in order,” he said. In addition to these services, the ECJDF also offers job training, peer mediation and mentoring to aid residents in a successful transition back into the community.
The NCCHC is a national not-for-profit organization that works to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile detention and confinement facilities by establishing standards for health services. It also operates a voluntary accreditation program, produces and disseminates resource publications, provides technical assistance and conducts a variety of education trainings and conferences.
The Essex County Juvenile Detention Center, located in Newark, is home to roughly 100 youth ages 12 to 21 from both Essex and Passaic counties.