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Westchester County jail achieves 5th consecutive ACA re-accreditation, sets national standards in corrections

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The Westchester County Department of Correction (WDOC) has secured reaccreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA) after successfully passing a rigorous three-day audit in late January.

The audit resulted in a remarkable 100% compliance with the 59 mandatory standards and an impressive 99.67% compliance with the 303 non-mandatory standards, reaffirming the County Jail’s commitment to excellence.

The Westchester County Jail initially earned ACA accreditation in 2009, becoming the first large jail in New York State to do so and the seventy-first in the nation at that time.

County Executive George Latimer expressed his pride, stating that these certifications establish the WDOC as a model for the nation, operating under the most stringent custodial and medical standards.

ACA standards cover a wide range of aspects including services, programs, health care, and security operations crucial to effective correctional management.

The auditors conducted physical inspections on all three work shifts, interviewed multiple employees and residents, and reviewed extensive documentation in 362 prepared folders as part of the re-accreditation process.

County Executive Latimer commended Commissioner Joseph K. Spano, the leadership team, and the entire WDOC workforce for their dedication.

He emphasized the significance of ACA, NCCHC, and PREA certifications, recognizing them as key factors that contribute to maintaining a balance between public safety and the well-being of staff and offenders.

The Westchester County Jail holds a unique distinction, being the only large local jail in New York State to be dually accredited by both the ACA and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC).

Additionally, it is the only New York County Jail that has achieved Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) compliance, exceeding federal standards set by the US Department of Justice.

During the exit interview on January 24, ACA auditors praised the WDOC workforce for their professionalism and operational knowledge displayed during the inspection. They particularly highlighted the Department’s healthcare services, mental health treatment, food service operations, rehabilitation programming, and overall safety and sanitation procedures.

Commissioner Joseph K. Spano expressed pride in the agency’s impressive grades during the audit, emphasizing the positive impact on day-to-day operations and the recognition it brings to every level of the workforce.

He concluded that maintaining these certifications not only enhances facility health and safety conditions but also contributes to the agency’s reputation as a national leader in corrections.

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