Jail and House of Correction re-accredited

Worcester Telegram and Gazette
By Lee Hammel

The Worcester County sheriff’s office has successfully completed all of the requirements for re-accreditation from the American Correctional Association, Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis announced yesterdayThe Worcester County Jail and House of Correction had to comply with 384 standards to meet certification, he said. The facility was evaluated through a series of reviews, evaluations, an extensive audit and a formal presentation to the ACA panel, he said.

The standards focus on inmate safety, discipline, health care, education, fiscal efficiency, program development, officer training, and facility administration.

Agencies that are accredited by the Arlington, Va.-based organization must be re-accredited every three years to maintain their status, Sheriff Evangelidis said. The sheriff’s office got its original accreditation in 2008, he said.

The sheriff said he made re-accreditation a top priority after taking office in 2011. “Unfortunately, an initial review revealed significant deficiencies that would have jeopardized reaccreditation,” he said.

“Therefore, the administration postponed the reapplication process until the necessary corrective action was completed. Significant issues that needed to be addressed were safety issues involving fire alarms, as well buildings and maintenance issues such as access to natural light,” Sheriff Evangelidis said.

The sheriff’s office got a 96.3 percent compliance rating four years ago, he said. That has improved to 99.3 percent “by addressing standards that were found to be noncompliant in 2008,” he said.

The sheriff’s office got a 96.3 percent compliance rating four years ago, he said. That has improved to 99.3 percent “by addressing standards that were found to be non-compliant in 2008,” he said.

“There is no requirement that WCSO complete the rigorous and challenging process of maintaining national accreditation,” the sheriff said, “but it is important for our entire staff to demonstrate to the residents of Worcester County that we are committed to professionalism by adhering to the highest industry standards. It is a tribute to the hardworking staff at WCSO that we excelled in our ACA re-accreditation.”

He said that “when I took office I made a commitment to increase the professionalism at WCSO and a successful reaccreditation was imperative to reaching our goals.”

Nine of the state’s 13 county jails are accredited, according to James Burke, deputy director of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association.