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Washington County Detention Center earns accreditation

February 13, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The Washington County Detention Center recently was awarded a three-year accreditation by the American Correctional Association, according to a written release and Sheriff Charles Mades.

The accreditation came in the jail's first attempt at achieving the national recognition.

Mades said the jail, which was built in 1983-84, is accredited by the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards, but the jail staff wanted to seek accreditation through the national agency to challenge themselves.

"This is more challenging than the state accreditation process," he said.

Mades said the jail was audited in late August.

Mades, Capt. Rick Blair and Sgt. Tony Shank accepted the award Jan. 30 at a conference in Tennessee. They were complimented "on their professional level of operation and their success in completing the accreditation process," according to a release from the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.

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The jail has more than 100 employees and holds nearly 400 inmates, Mades said.

"If it wasn't for the staff that applied themselves and worked so hard, we wouldn't have gotten it," Mades said. "If it wasn't for them, the job wouldn't get done. A hoorah for them is in order."

A three-year accreditation award for the jail doesn't mean it's finished with the accreditation process. Staff must work to improve deficiencies identified during the jail's audit and continually comply with standards, according to the release.

Mades said the jail was commended for its training standards, written policies and procedures, and its process for evaluating inmates' mental and emotional stability.

Some of the concerns from the association involved pod temperatures, noise levels and cell square footage, he said.

"The staff is going to have to maintain a continuous trail of paper" on how they will address concerns, Mades said.

The jail "is one of over 1,500 correctional organizations currently involved in accreditation across the nation," the release states.

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