FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 26, 2018
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office (AL) has successfully met national accreditation requirements through the National Institute for Jail Operations (NIJO).
The NIJO Accreditation process requires agencies pursuing accreditation to provide policies and documented proofs of compliance to determine whether their policies meet requirements of the law and that they are being practiced and followed. There were 584 applicable Legal-Based GuidelinesTM, specific to correctional case law governing the state of Alabama, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Supreme Court rulings and federal acts and regulations applicable to Baldwin County Jail. After extensive review of policies and a thorough on-site verification inspection conducted by NIJO, the jail received Level II Accreditation.
Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack, who initiated the accreditation process, stated, “This was a great milestone for our organization. We have been improving and developing our correction center since I took office in 2007. This milestone represents years of hard work.”
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. Baldwin County’s commitment to operating their facility within compliance requirements of the Legal-Based GuidelinesTM has enhanced jail operations, increased professionalism and proactively served to protect against liability and other risk management issues. The Legal-Based GuidelinesTM were developed and are maintained by renowned corrections expert Gary W. DeLand (DeLand & Associates), which NIJO fully and exclusively promulgates.
Historical statistics show counties that actively participate with the NIJO Legal-Based Jail GuidelinesTM accompanied with the Verification 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. Sheriff Mack expressed the importance of seeking national accreditation through NIJO, stating, “I believe NIJO’s Legal-Based Guidelines system for correction centers and jails is the best way to identify potential issues and resolve those issues in the most expedient matter. Making sure that your operating procedures are consistent with the most relevant and current court decisions is a way in which to improve overall operations which not only protect the sheriffs’ office, but inmates’ rights as well. We pursued national accreditation so that we could recognize the years of effort and preparation our employees have participated in to make our correction center what it is today. I believe the final accreditation has validated our efforts.”
Tate McCotter, NIJO Executive Director, 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. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office did a remarkable job by proactively discovering and addressing potential liability and risk management issues. 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.”
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: NIJO
Attn: Darla Gray