ACA’s Goals

The American correctional association (ACA) was founded in 1870 and is the world’s largest prison reform organization. It has over 20,000 members from a wide range of correctional disciplines and programs, as well as professionals in allied fields and representatives from the general public.

ACA’s goal is to promote the coordination of correctional organizations, agencies, programs and services to reduce fragmentation and duplication and increase the efficiency of correctional services on a national basis. It also strives to develop and maintain liaisons and a close working relationship in America with similar associations and agencies in other countries for mutual assistance and the interchange of ideas and information.

ACA’s standards guide operations in every area of secure facilities including jails, prisons, juvenile correctional facilities, probation/parole agencies, and community residential centers (halfway houses). They require sound administration, fiscal controls, physical plant, safety and security practices, and the provision of basic services. These standards provide a basis for legal and humane correctional practices while being realistic and practical.

ACA’s Strategy

The American correctional association (ACA) is the oldest and most widely-recognized organization developed specifically for practitioners in the field of corrections. Founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, the association has since expanded its focus to support correctional effectiveness and the needs of prisoners (Jacobs & Cooperman, 2012).

ACA publishes operational standards that help improve the quality of operations within facilities, such as prisons, jails, juvenile detention centers, probation/parole agencies, halfway houses and others. These standards provide practical guidance to staff and administrators to promote a safe, healthy, and secure environment for both offenders and staff.

ACA offers accreditation to jails and prisons through a process that includes evaluation of facility services, programs and operations, administrative controls, staff training and development, safety and emergency procedures, sanitation, food service, meal tracking and rules and discipline. DAPO seeks ACA reaccreditation of 113 parole units based on 176 performance-based standards and expects to meet all requirements by June 2017.

ACA’s Impact

The American correctional association is an organization that helps to improve the safety, quality of life, and services for the people who live in prisons and jails. The Association also aims to ensure that the rights of all offenders are protected and that they are given the best possible treatment while in jail.

The ACA publishes operational standards for different types of facilities, including prisons, jails, juvenile correctional institutions, probation/parole agencies, and halfway houses. The standards are developed in order to enhance the safety and security of both staff and offenders.

The Association also presents adequate support and technical assistance to ensure that all agencies and facilities follow evidence-based correctional practices. The Association is also working to help speed up the criminal justice process by collaborating with different departments and policymakers. This strategy has made it easier for more people to receive fair trials. It has also helped to reduce the chances of incarcerating citizens who did not commit any crimes or offenses.

ACA’s Future

For more than 149 years, the American correctional association has championed the cause of corrections and correctional effectiveness. Founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, ACA is the oldest organization developed specifically for practitioners in the correctional profession.

ACA has been at the forefront of developing and promoting the most relevant, research-based, and practical correctional standards. These are the basis for a safe, secure, and healthy environment for staff and inmates.

Accreditation is a structure of confirmation that agencies and facilities comply with these standards. These standards address facility services, programs and operations, administrative controls and documentation, staff training and development, safety and emergency procedures, sanitation, food service and meal tracking, and rules and discipline, among others.

ACA accreditation is a commonly sought goal for all correctional facilities as it benefits their operations and staff, reduces insurance costs, and creates a stronger defense against litigation and lawsuits. However, the ACA accreditation process can seem daunting to most jails and prisons.