Reaccreditation recommended for county jail

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 7, 2014

IN COMPLIANCE: Pearl River County Detention Center’s Warden Julie Flowers thanked the auditors and jail staff members for their hard work.  Photo by Jeremy Pittari

IN COMPLIANCE: Pearl River County Detention Center’s Warden Julie Flowers thanked the auditors and jail staff members for their hard work.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

The Pearl River County’s detention center will once again be recommended for national accreditation.

American Correction Association auditors completed their audit this week, and at Wednesday’s press conference said the facility was operating at a 99 percent compliance rate.

Marv Wilson,  an auditor from Iowa, said the auditing process is two-fold, which involves a set of standards and quality of life. 

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“There are 60 mandatory standards for this facility because it houses both males and females. This center meets all 60,” Wilson said. 

There are 325 non-mandatory standards and Pearl River County’s has only one not in compliance, Wilson said. 

Gerald Ellsworth, an auditor from Florida, discussed healthcare standards.

Ellsworth said he found the jail’s healthcare to be in compliance and works very closely together.

“I’m impressed with the lack of suicides and suicide attempts and the excellent control of infectious diseases. Top notch all around,” Ellsworth said. 

Karen Bowden, an auditor from Virginia, said that she was most impressed with the jail’s alcohol and drug program. 

“It’s about making the inmates understand that they are looking for rehabilitation from within,” Bowden said. 

Bowden congratulated the administration regarding the of number GED completions and for the number of books in the legal and recreational library. 

During talks with staff, Bowden said many thought of the facility as a second home and felt they could sit down with supervisors and have their concerns.

“In general, the files are in good shape, easy to read. There’s a good staff and supervisors are committed to making this place run and helping inmates,” Wilson said. 

Amy McIntyre, Director of Auditing for Mississippi Correctional Management, said national accreditation shows that a facility is performing at the highest of standards. 

There’s been no escapes, suicides or homicides, which shows the staff receives proper training and follows through, McIntyre said. 

“The community should be proud of this facility. They provide a good quality of life for the inmates and a safe work environment for staff,” McIntyre said. 

This audit will be recommending accreditation.

McIntyre said the audit report will go before a panel in California in January where the panel will decide if the jail is accredited. 

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison said he was tickled to death with the results. 

“I just don’t see how we could do any better than this,” Allison said. 

Allison was elected in 2008. 

He said during his first eight months in office he received about 36 lawsuits pertaining to jail operations. 

That’s when Allison said he knew a change needed to occur, beginning with bringing in the Mississippi Correctional Management, Inc. to help prepare the jail for a national accreditation audit. 

“The Lord has blessed me with some good people not only in the jail department but law enforcement as well. They are dedicated, hard-working, do a great job and always give 100 percent,” Allison said. 

The Pearl River County Detention Center was the first in Mississippi to become nationally accredited in August 2011. 

The Hancock County facility became the second facility accredited in December, McIntyre said.