The accreditation process offers the opportunity to evaluate operations against national standards, remedy deficiencies, and upgrade the quality of correctional and law enforcement programs and services.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office participates in the accreditation process with the American Correctional Association (ACA), National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), and the Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office received its 4th Edition ACA Accreditation in January 2007 as one of the first jails in Colorado to obtain this accreditation, NCCHC Accreditation in October 2005 and CALEA in April 2006. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is also a recipient of the National Sheriff's Association Triple Crown Award, presented to only twenty agencies across the nation for successfully achieving accreditation with three separate accreditation commissions.
Benefits of Accreditation:
- Ensures compliance with nationally adopted standards
- Establishes guidelines for daily operations
- Reduces costly and time consuming litigation
- Improves community support
- Provides basis for enhanced funding
- Assesses our strengths and weaknesses
- Provides a system of checks and balances
- Builds staff/offender morale
- Safer environment for staff and offenders
- Ensures policies & procedures are current
- Promotes systematic review
- Clarifies expectations for staff
- Strengthens crime prevention and control capabilities
- Formalizes essential management procedures
- Establishes fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices
- Improves service delivery
- Solidifies interagency cooperation and coordination
- Increases the efficiency of health services delivery
- Strengthens organizational effectiveness
The accreditation process is a combination of "processes" and "proofs".
The most important commitment comes from the Sheriff's Office Bureau Chief's responsible for the Detentions and Law Enforcement function. They walk, talk and look at the entire process.
Accreditation is a team effort. All of our employees and outside service providers who may not even work directly for the Sheriff's Office are committed to the process. Every employee and service provider understands the goals, objectives and reasons for maintaining our accreditation.
The process of meeting or exceeding the ACA/NCCHC/CALEA standards, does create internal tension. However, the process of meeting all standards is today viewed by all in the organization as "doing business as usual"; thereby, eliminating much of the tension.
Employees are held accountable in the accreditation process. All employees are part of the accreditation process; however, only one individual is assigned to be ultimately responsible for a given outcome. A process is in place to ensure that this one individual is held accountable from "process to proofs". "Process to proofs" refers to the organization following the written standard and proving the standard with appropriate documentation.
The organization conducts a self-evaluation, and has a standards compliance audit by trained consultants prior to an accreditation decision by the ACA/NCCHC/CALEA Board of Commissioners.
Once accredited, the organization submits annual certification statements.
The process of accreditation normally takes 12 to 18 months to complete. Accreditation is granted for a period of 3 years. Continuous maintenance of accreditation is an ongoing task.
The American Correctional Association:
A private, non-profit organization that administers the only national accreditation program for all components of adult and juvenile corrections.
Accreditation, a process that began in 1978, involves approximately 80 percent of all state departments of corrections and youth services as active participants. Also included are programs and facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the US Parole Commission and the District of Columbia. The accreditation program offers the opportunity to evaluate operations against national standards, remedy deficiencies, and upgrade the quality of correctional programs and services.
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care:
The Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities.
In the early 1970s, the American Medical Association in collaboration with other organizations, established a program that in the early 1980s became the National Commission on Correctional Health Care whose mission is to evaluate and develop policy and programs that help correctional and detention facilities improve the health of their inmates and the communities to which they return.
The Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA):
The Commission is a private, non-profit corporation. It is not part of, or obligated to, any governmental unit. The Commission's authority is derived solely from the voluntary participation of law enforcement agencies in the accreditation process.
In 1979, the Commission was created through the combined efforts of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs' Association, and Police Executive Research Forum. The purpose of CALEA's Accreditation Programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.
The National Sheriff's Association Triple Crown Award:
In its sixty-fifth year of serving law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals of the nation, is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among those in the criminal justice field. Through the years, NSA has been involved in numerous programs to enable sheriffs, their deputies, chiefs of police, and others in the field of criminal justice to perform their jobs in the best possible manner and to better serve the people of their cities, counties or jurisdictions.
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