Al Cannon Detention Center awarded International Accreditation

(Rebecca Lamb/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center has earned an honor that no other law enforcement entity or detention center in the state has earned. It's been accredited by the America Correctional Association (ACA).

This award is only held by 135 other local detention centers out of approximately 3,300 local jails in the U.S. The accreditation process began approximately five years ago with a concentration on policies over the last three years. The current detention facility was opened May 3, 2010.

The Chairperson of the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections, Lannette Linthicum, and Kathy Black-Dennis, Director of Standards, Accreditation, and Professional Development with the American Correctional Association announced the accreditation at the American Correctional Association 2013 Winter Conference on Jan. 26 in Houston, Texas.

The facility's staff was commended for their professionalism and their success in completing the accreditation process. The detention center is one of over 1,500 correctional organizations currently involved in accreditation worldwide.

"The awarding of this National Accreditation is a remarkable achievement only made possible because of the dedicated and committed staff of the detention center," said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, Jr. "I congratulate them on this accomplishment, it reflects great honor on the entire Sheriff's Office and I am proud of this recognition"

"The key in my mind to being able to accomplish this in many respects was the decision county council made to build the facility," said Sheriff Cannon. "Prior to this facility we were so overcrowded that it would have been impossible for us to become accredited."Some of the areas the jail was judged on included organizing inmates efficiently and providing a proper level of basic healthcare for inmates who are waiting for their day in court.This accreditation, along with the accreditation that was awarded to the sheriff's office for law enforcement and to the organization that provides healthcare to the jail, completes what Sheriff Cannon called the "triple crown" of accreditation for the county.Cannon said that the detention center is one of only 40 in the nation that has pulled off all three honors."This accreditation is a crowning achievement of all of the folks who work in the detention center," he said.

The accreditation program is a professional peer review process based on national and international standards that have evolved since the founding of the Association in 1870. The standards were developed by national leaders from the field of corrections, law, architecture, health care and other groups who are interested in sound correctional management.

From the ACA:

  • ACA standards address services, programs, health care and security operations essential to effective correctional management.
  • Through accreditation, an agency is able to maintain a balance between protecting the public and providing an environment that safeguards the life, health, and safety of staff and offenders.
  • Standards set by ACA reflect practical, up-to-date policies and procedures and function as a management tool for agencies and facilities throughout the world.

According to ACA, the three-year accreditation award granted to the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center{}does not signal the end of their involvement in the accreditation process. During the award period, staff will work to improve any deficiencies identified during the audit and maintain continuous compliance with the standards. The Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center had 100 percent compliance with the 61 mandatory standards and 98.3 percent of the 323 non-mandatory standards set by the ACA. Plans were set to meet the remaining non-mandatory standards through the next three years.