In late January, the Westchester County Department of Correction (WDOC) underwent a successful extensive three-day reaccreditation audit conducted by the American Correctional Association (ACA). By receiving 100% compliance of the 59 mandatory standards and 99.67% of the 303 non-mandatory standards, the County Jail was re-accredited for the fifth time since it first received ACA accreditation status in 2009. In 2009, the County Jail became the first large jail in New York State to do so and only the seventy first in the Country at that time. 

County Executive George Latimer said: “ACA, NCCHC and PREA certifications are not just ‘feathers in the cap’ for the County; they establish that our Department of Correction operates under the most stringent custodial and medical standards for jail facilities nationwide. I commend Commissioner Spano, his leadership team and the entire WDOC workforce for the effort they put forward to run a Jail that can serve as a model for the rest of the nation and once again attain ACA re-accreditation. Congratulations to Commissioner Spano, First Deputy Commissioner Padilla and Deputy Commissioners Gerard and Johnson on this significant achievement.”

ACA standards address services, programs, health care and security operations essential to effective correctional management. Through ACA accreditation, an agency is able to maintain a balance between protecting the public and providing an environment that safeguards the life, health and safety of staff and offenders. As part of the re-accreditation process, the auditors made physical inspections on all three work shifts, interviewed multiple employees and residents and reviewed documentation in 362 prepared folders to determine compliance for the past three-year period.

WDOC maintains the unique distinction of being the only large local jail in New York State to be dually accredited by the American Correctional Association and National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC), and is also the only New York County Jail that has achieved Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) compliance, meeting and exceeding US Department of Justice federal standards.

During the January 24 exit interview, the ACA auditors complimented the WDOC workforce, highlighting the level of professionalism and operational knowledge they exhibited during the inspection process. Additionally, they were very impressed with the Department’s healthcare services, mental health treatment, food service operations, rehabilitation programming and overall safety and sanitation procedures.

Commissioner Joseph K. Spano stated: “I’m proud to report that our agency passed the audit with very impressive grades. Maintaining this important certification not only has a positive impact on our day to day operations, it’s a compliment to every level of our workforce. To their credit, our employees and contractual partners recognize that the consistent application of the ACA standards improves facility health and safety conditions and quality of life for both staff and residents. This successful ACA reaccreditation audit, combined with our other unique national certifications is part of what contributes to our reputation as a national leader in the corrections space - something that we are very proud of.”