The NIJO accreditation process requires agencies pursing accreditation to provide policies and documented proofs of compliance to ascertain their policies meet requirements of the law and that they are being practiced and followed. There were 594 applicable legal based guidelines, specific to correctional case law governing the state of Indiana, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Supreme Court rulings and federal acts and regulations applicable to Wayne County Jail. After extensive review of policies and a thorough onsite verification inspection conducted, the jail received a Level II Accreditation rating.
This achievement for Wayne County began over two years ago, initiated by Sheriff Jeff Cappa. “As Sheriff, the legal based accreditation process was exactly what I was looking for. It affords me the opportunity to minimize the liability placed upon my staff and tax payers by implementing sound policies backed by constitutional based standards.”
Keeping policies and procedures up to date with current case law is challenging and demands an administration to consistently maintain a high, professional level of operations. WCSO support and commitment to operating the facility within compliance requirements of the legal based guidelines has enhanced jail operations, increased professionalism and proactively served to protect against liability and other risk management issues.
Captain Andrew Abney-Brotz expressed the importance of the accreditation achievement, stating “I am excited our staff has the protection of legal-based standards to shape our policies.” Lt. Travis Isaacs agreed. “In my opinion, this accreditation is the most important process we have completed to minimize the liability to our staff.”
Historical statistics show counties that actively participate with the NIJO Legal-Based Jail
Guidelines accompanied with the inspection or accreditation program account for 28% – 33% of
jail liability losses, compared to the national average of 71%, a significant decrease and savings
for those participating counties.
Tate McCotter, NIJO Executive Director was present during the onsite verification inspection.
He explained “There are few professions which are as volatile and subject to change as
corrections. In order to be compliant with the law and run a constitutionally safe facility, jail
administrators must be proactive and stay ahead of the curve, constantly updating policies and
procedures, looking for ways that safety and security might be compromised. That is exactly
what the accreditation process accomplishes. WCSO did a remarkable job by proactively
discovering and addressing potential liability and risk management issues.”
McCotter commented “When done with transparency and based on legal-based principles,
accreditation benefits the jail staff, the inmates and the entire public. For most counties, the
jail is the largest liability in county government and the process itself becomes a significant risk
management and liability defense.”
In order to maintain accreditation status, the jail must provide annual proofs of compliance and
policy revisions for two additional years. The cycle is repeated every three years to maintain
consistency and verify compliance.
The National Institute for Jail Operations (NIJO) was formed as the primary resource dedicated
to serve those that operate jails, detention and correctional facilities. Recognizing the
enormous liability an increasing litigation facing administrators, NIJO provides a compilation of
legal-based resources and information for agencies to make facilities safer and more secure,
proactively defend against frivolous litigation and protect against adverse publicity and liability.
PRESS CONTACT: National Institute for Jail Operations
Attn: Darla Gray