West Boylston– Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis recently announced the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has successfully completed all the requirements for Re-Accreditation from the nationally recognized American Correctional Association (ACA). Earning a compliance rating of 99.3%, it is the highest accreditation score ever received by the Worcester County Sheriff ‘s Office. The American Correctional Association founded in 1870, is the oldest and largest correctional association in the world. Their mission is to provide professional organization to departments that share their goal of improving the justice system.
In order to meet the criteria for this award, the department had to be in compliance with 384 stringent standards evaluated through a series of reviews, evaluations, an extensive audit and a formal presentation to the ACA panel. The required standards focus on issues ranging from inmate safety, discipline, health care, education, fiscal efficiency, program development, officer training, and facility administration. Agencies that are accredited must be re-accredited every three years to maintain their status.
Sheriff Evangelidis said, “There is no requirement the WCSO complete the rigorous and challenging process of maintaining National Accreditation, 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 our hardworking staff that we excelled in our ACA re-accreditation, considered by many throughout the country as the highest standard of excellence in corrections.”
As the last requirement to complete the re-accreditation process, the Sheriff’s Department presented before the national board in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday May 30th. “ The feedback during our presentation was excellent, they were very impressed with our operating procedures especially in light of the numerous facility challenges
that are inherent in operating the oldest county correctional facility in Massachusetts,” said Superintendent David Tuttle.
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office was originally accredited in 2008. After taking office in 2011, Evangelidis made successful re-accreditation a top priority. In 2008, the WCSO was given a compliance rating of 96.3% and improved to a 96.8% during the 2012 audit. The most recent 2015 ACA accreditation score of 99.3%, is the highest rating ever received by the correctional facility.
“When I took office I made a commitment to increase professionalism at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department including adhering to the highest industry standards, successful reaccreditation is imperative to reaching our goals” said the Sheriff.
The American Correctional Association has been accrediting public safety agencies since 1978. According to the ACA, benefits of accreditation include: improved staff training, defense against lawsuits, increased safety of staff and offenders, assessment of program strengths and weaknesses, reduced insurance liability costs, and increased staff professionalism and moral.