Thursday, August 28, 2014

8 California prisons accredited with the American Correctional Association; total now 16

Nearly half of all California prisons are now accredited with worldwide authority

The Commission on Accreditation for Corrections has accredited eight additional California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prisons, bringing the total number of accredited California prisons to 16.

The most recent round of accreditations was announced Sunday during the American Correctional Association’s (ACA) 144th Congress of Correction in Salt Lake City, Utah.

California Institution for Women, Centinela State Prison, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, Folsom State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, Sierra Conservation Center and Wasco State Prison and Reception Center achieved near-perfect scores in the ACA evaluation.

“ACA accreditation is an important and highly respected indicator which demonstrates that our state prisons are being operated safely, professionally, humanely and in compliance with the U.S. Constitution,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. “I commend all CDCR employees for their ongoing commitment to ensuring our facilities meet and exceed such strict standards.”
For more than 143 years, the ACA has been the recognized worldwide authority in corrections and its Commission on Accreditation for Corrections certifies correctional facilities.

The ACA is responsible for conducting the audits; the Commission, comprised of corrections professionals from across the country, is responsible for granting or denying the accreditation.  ACA standards are the national benchmark for the effective operation of correctional facilities. The ACA’s Standards Committee continually revises standards based on changing practices, current case law, agency experiences and the expert opinions of corrections professionals, doctors, legal experts and architects.

Adult and juvenile facilities, community-based programs, and parole and probation agencies all use ACA standards. Lawyers, judges, county administrators, academia and advocacy groups also use ACA standards as a tool to ensure the constitutional rights of offenders and to protect staff and the public.

Institutions seeking accreditation must undergo rigorous reviews and evaluations that culminate in the accreditation audit. CDCR’s Special Review Unit in the Office of Audits and Court Compliance provides departmental oversight and works with the Division of Health Care Services in the accreditation process.
The accreditation audit is a comprehensive review that encompasses every area of prison management including administrative and fiscal controls, staff training and development, the physical plant, safety and emergency procedures, conditions of confinement, rules and discipline, inmate programs, health care, food service, sanitation, and the provision of basic services that can affect the life, safety and health of inmates and staff.

Institutions seeking accreditation have to comply with 529 ACA standards and score 100 percent for 62 mandatory requirements and at least 90 percent on 467 non-mandatory requirements. Half of the mandatory standards address health care.

Since last fall, ACA audit teams visited the eight prisons and conducted comprehensive on-site audits of all aspects of prison operations. The teams found that all eight prisons met all of the mandatory requirements and all eight significantly exceeded the 90 percent mark for non-mandatory items.
California Institution for Women received a score of 98.9 percent, Centinela State Prison received 97.4 percent, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison received 99.1 percent, Folsom State Prison received 97.6 percent, Ironwood State Prison received 99.1 percent, Kern Valley State Prison received 98.8 percent, Sierra Conservation Center received 98.8 percent and Wasco State Prison and Reception Center received 97.9 percent.

Next year, Avenal State Prison, California Medical Facility, California Men’s Colony, California State Prison-Corcoran, California State Prison-Los Angeles County, Deuel Vocational Institution, Salinas Valley State Prison and San Quentin State Prison are scheduled to go through the accreditation process.
The accreditation process is intended to be continuous. Three prisons accredited in 2012 – California State Prison-Sacramento, California State Prison-Solano and Central California Women’s Facility – will be going through the re-accreditation process for 2015. Since standards are being revised to reflect changes in the profession, re-accreditation may involve compliance with some new or updated standards. 

CDCR’s goal is to have all of its 34 institutions accredited by 2017.

CDCR began the process of seeking nationally recognized accreditation from the ACA in 2010. In addition to the eight prisons accredited today, the following state prisons have also been accredited by the ACA:
  • California State Prison-Sacramento, with a score of 98.6 percent
  • California State Prison-Solano, 99 percent
  • Central California Women’s Facility, 98.16 percent
  • Correctional Training Facility, 98.1 percent
  • High Desert State Prison, 98.8 percent
  • Mule Creek State Prison, 98.8 percent
  • North Kern State Prison, 97.66 percent
  • Pelican Bay State Prison, 97.4 percent

California State Senate Confirms Division of Adult Institutions and Division of Rehabilitative Programs leadership 33-0

The California Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to confirm the appointments of CDCR leaders Michael Stainer, Vimal Singh, Ralph Diaz, and Millicent Tidwell.  The vote was 33-0.

Michael Stainer was confirmed as the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) and Millicent Tidwell was confirmed as the Director of the Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP).
Vimal Singh and Ralph Diaz were both confirmed as Associate Directors of DAI.
The confirmation process for each began Aug. 14 before the Senate Rules Committee.
Stainer was appointed director of DAI in November 2013 where he had been acting director since 2013 and served as deputy director of facility operations from 2012 to 2013.

Stainer held multiple positions at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi from 2004 to 2011, including warden, acting warden, chief deputy warden, associate warden and correctional captain.
He was a correctional captain at the California State Prison Los Angeles from 2002 to 2004 and held multiple positions at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi from 1987 to 2002, including correctional counselor supervisor, lieutenant, sergeant and officer.  Tidwell was appointed director of DRP in November 2013 where she had served as acting director since 2013.

Tidwell held multiple positions at the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs from 2005 to 2013, including acting deputy director of the Licensing and Certification Division and deputy director of the Office of Criminal Justice Collaboration.  She served as chief of the California Department of Corrections Mentally Ill Offender Services from 2000 to 2005 and was a public safety policy analyst in the Office of Governor Gray Davis from 1999 to 2000.  Tidwell was an attorney in private practice from 1997 to 1999. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Lincoln Law School of Sacramento.

Vimal Singh was appointed associate director of reception center institutions at CDCR where he has served as acting director since 2013.  Singh held multiple positions at the California Medical Facility from 2009 to 2013, including warden, acting warden and chief deputy administrator.  He held multiple positions at the California State Prison, Solano from 1998 to 2009, including correctional administrator, business manager, accounting officer supervisor, budget analyst, institutional personnel officer and correctional food manager. 

Singh was a supervising correctional cook at the California State Prison, Sacramento from 1991 to 1998 and a supervising cook at Folsom State Prison and at California State Prison, Sacramento from 1989 to 1991. He was a dietary chef at the University of California, Davis Medical Center from 1987 to 1989.
Ralph Diaz was appointed associate director of high security institutions where he has served as acting associate director since 2013.

Diaz held multiple positions at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran from 2000 to 2013, including warden, acting warden, chief deputy administrator, correctional captain and counselor.  He was a correctional counselor and officer at the California State Prison, Corcoran from 1993 to 2000 and a correctional officer at Wasco State Prison from 1991 to 1993.