how does corrections accreditation affect the professional development of corrections officers?
Facilities that undertake the challenge of seeking accreditation reap many benefits, especially when they ultimately achieve accreditation. [ Staff training and development are mandated under the standards and usually far exceed training requirements in place in unaccredited facilities. Preparation for an accreditation audit requires a comprehensive internal review of institutional programs
and services, followed by an objective assessment by the ACA auditing team. This process often reveals the need for improvement in some programs and services, while identifying those that work well. Medical services, food service, access to courts, and "quality of life issues" (such as the extent of institutional violence, the fairness disciplinary and grievance procedures , and overall quality of life for staff and offenders are key considerations. The process also helps to identify the need for operational improvements and provides clear criteria for measuring progress. Often, such intensive scrutiny of a correctional facility results in a safer environment for staff and offenders. And as correctional officers work toward compliance with standards that represent the profession's best practices, staff take increasing pride in their work and their professionalism.
There are other benefits to accreditation that are more easily quantified. For instance, accredited facilities often enjoy reduced premiums on liability insurance premiums which can offset the costs of accreditation. And accreditation also helps to demonstrate not only a facility's compliance with professional standards, but a commitment to proactively meet the needs of prisoners. ]
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