Essay Sample on Correctional Facility Accreditation Plan

Published: 2023-05-22
Essay Sample on Correctional Facility Accreditation Plan
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Goal United States Penal system Sustainable development
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1611 words
14 min read

Accreditation remains one of the most critical processes that every correctional facility must undergo to ensure that it operates within the existing legal rules and guidelines. Gondles (2017) defined accreditation as a comprehensive process that entails the reception of a competency, authority, or credibility certification from a recognized body or agency. The process is crucial in ascertaining whether the facility caters to the needs of its stakeholders, including prisoners and their corresponding correctional officers, effectively (Duwe, 2017). This paper aims to develop an accreditation plan that addresses various issues associated with the functional standards of correctional facilities in the United States.

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Purpose and Goal of Each of the Seven Functional Areas

American Correctional Association (ACA) developed a total of seven functional areas with its commitment to promote performance-based standards that exclusively focus on actual compliance with expected practices (Deitch, 2010). First, the functional area of safety works with the purpose and goal of ensuring that all correctional facilities must provide an undisruptive environment for its occupants, including its workers and offenders, alongside members of the surrounding community. The second functional area, security, works to ensure that the correctional facility can protect its occupants and surroundings from any form of harm (American Bar Association, 2020). Third, the functional area of the order has the purpose and the goal of ensuring that the management of the correctional facility maintains an orderly environment with an establishment of clear and concise expectations of behavior and accountability among its workers. Fourth, the functional care area aims to ensure the correctional facility caters to the basic needs of all inmates. Fifth, the program and activity functional area seek to help all inmates to successfully return to their communities after serving their term in jail. Sixth, the functional area of justice works to ensure that the correctional facility treats all inmates fairly while respecting their legal and human rights (Lurigio, 2016). Lastly, the area of administration and management requires leaders to ensure that they run the facility professionally and responsibly.

Correctional Standards for the Above Function

ACA categorizes its standards used in ensuring effective observation of the above functions into two groups, the mandatory and non-mandatory standards (Deitch, 2010). All correctional facilities operating in the United States must strictly meet the requirements for all applicable mandatory standards alongside 90% of the no non-mandatory ones. However, not all these standards can apply to a predetermined correctional facility due to factors, such as differences in their missions and visions, physical plant location, and the corresponding jurisdiction details (Duwe, 2017). Therefore, ACA usually deducts all the standards deemed non-applicable to a particular facility's score of compliance.

Desired Conditions to Achieve and Maintain

There are various desired conditions that correctional facilities across the United States need to not only achieve but also maintain to attain operational sustainability (Lurigio, 2016). There are three different conditions applicable to the seven broad functional areas. Conditions applicable to the area of safety include creating an environment which is conducive for its occupants, ensuring maximum protection of the community, staff, and offenders from potential injuries, and protecting them from illnesses. Desirable conditions under the functional area of desirable security conditions include putting in place appropriate internal security systems that prevent the smuggling in of contrabands, hindering inmates from escaping, and training staff on how to adhere to such policies strictly (Duwe, 2017). The area of the order has various desirable conditions, including maintenance of an orderly environment, the establishment of clear and concise expectations of behavior systems, and ensuring that correctional officers remain accountable for their actions.

According to Gondles (2017), the desirable conditions under the area of care entail a continuous assessment of inmates, the community, and staff members to identify their needs, addressing such needs by providing high-quality services, and encouraging prisoners to reveal their distinct requirement for provision. Program and activity have different desirable conditions such as developing projects that benefit inmates, ensuring that they take part in decision making, and reviewing these activities to ensure that they are suitable to the target audience. Justice entails desirable conditions like provision of equitable services to cater to the needs of prisoners, respecting their human rights, and educating them on the need to abide by the existing laws (American Bar Association, 2020). Lastly, administration and management function on various conditions such as providing leadership that is visionary and competent, being approachable and accountable, as well as having an open-door policy that encourages inmates to share their challenges to undertake appropriate counterstrategies.

Brief Overview of the Selected Existing Correctional Facility

The United States has a wide range of correctional facilities across its territories and states. The chosen facility, in this case, is the U.S. Penitentiary, Victorville (USP Victorville), located in the state of California (Deitch, 2010). USP Victorville is one of the most highly secure and safe federal prisons that house male prisoners in the country. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is one of the divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice, is responsible for the management of this prison. The facility adheres fully to seven functional areas. First, the facility adheres to the call of safety by providing an environment free from all forms of harm. Secondly, USP Victorville meets the requirement of security by putting in place appropriate internal mechanisms as well as policies that protect its inmates and staff from external danger such as access to contrabands (Lurigio, 2016). Thirdly, the facility has a policy that stipulates a wide range of clear and concise behavior expectations that all correctional officers must observe to remain responsible and accountable to their deeds. Fourthly, USP Victorville has sustainable plans and projects that help it to cater to the basic needs of its inmates, including clothing, housing, food, and education. Fifth, the facility meets the requirement of program and activity by engaging its inmates in various developmental projects to help them acquire critical skills, knowledge, and experience necessary for survival after leaving the prison. Sixth, USP Victorville management promotes justice by respecting the human rights of its prisoners (Duwe, 2017). Lastly, these officers manage the facility in a way deemed human, ethical, and responsible.

How to Fulfill the Requirements for Each Function

There are different strategies to use to fulfill the requirements of running a correctional facility as directed by ACA. First, ensuring that the environment is free from all forms of potential hazards is a critical step towards achieving safety (Deitch, 2010).Second, developing a policy regarding the use of the facility's resources and protective systems can help in achieving the highest level of security. Third, it is critical to developing clear lines of communication and behavior within the organization to ensure order. Fourth, deploying correctional officers with adequate competence in handling prisoners can help in providing high-quality care (Gondles, 2017). Fifth, it is essential to develop effective rehabilitative services such as teaching prisoners skill-based occupations like carpentry and masonry to meet the requirements of the functional area of program and activity. Sixth engaging prisoners in decision making will help them feel valued and will lead to the promotion of human rights, which is an essential step towards attaining justice (Deitch, 2010). Creating an open-door policy in the organization to encourage continuous interaction between correctional officers and inmates will be essential in meeting the requirement of administration and management.

Challenges to Face While Obtaining Accreditation for the Selected Facility

There are different challenges faced during the process of accreditation. For instance, a continuous increase in the number of inmates registered daily can put pressure on limitedly available resources, which, in turn, could imply a failure to meet the performance-based standards (Gondles, 2017). Failing to put in place appropriate policies to meet the requirements stipulated in the seven functional areas can result in rejection by the ACA. Lastly, inadequate access to staff members with the necessary skills and experience in prison management may lead to failure to achieve accreditation.

How to Overcome Challenges Faced While Obtaining Accreditation

Different strategies can help in overcoming the challenges associated with accreditation. First, prisons should expand their physical space to accommodate the correct number of inmates (American Bar Association, 2020). Secondly, it is critical to develop policies, such as safety and security, to ensure strict alignment with the desired conditions under the seven functional areas stipulated by ACA. Lastly, correctional facility leadership should recruit highly talented officers with the necessary competence needed for the ineffective management of prisons.


Accreditation bodies like ACA play a vital role in the effective management of correctional facilities across the United States. Such institutions obtain their accreditation powers and authority from the constitution and laws applicable to the country, regions, and jurisdictions in which it operates. Accreditation is critical in contemporary correctional facilities because it helps in determining whether the institution meets or surpasses the minimum standards of quality. However, it is essential to put into consideration how to achieve the requirements outlined in the seven functional areas outlined by ACA to achieve operational sustainability, as discussed in this paper.


American Bar Association (ABA) (2020). Standards on Treatment of Prisoners (Table of Contents). American Bar Association.

Deitch, M. (2010). Distinguishing the various functions of effective prison oversight, 30(5), 1438-1445.

Duwe, G. (2017 June). The use and impact of correctional programming for inmates on pre- and post-release outcomes. National Institute of Justice.

Gondles, J. A. (2017 March). Manual of accreditation policy and procedure. American Correctional Association.

Lurigio, L. J. (2016). Jails in the United States: The "old-new" frontier in American corrections. The Prison Journal, 96(1), 3-9.

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