Jail Accreditation

The Pennington County Jail received accreditation by the American Correctional Association (ACA) in 1993. ACA standards are the national benchmark for the effective operation of correctional systems throughout the United States and are necessary to ensure that correctional facilities are operated professionally. They address services, programs and operations essential to good correctional management, including administrative and fiscal controls, staff training and development, physical plant, safety and emergency procedures, sanitation, food service, and rules and discipline. Standards reflect practical, up-to-date policies and procedures that safeguard the life, health and safety of staff and offenders.

Accreditation is a system of verification that correctional agencies/facilities comply with national standards promulgated by the American Correctional Association. Accreditation is achieved through a series of reviews, evaluations, audits and hearings.

The advantages and benefits of accreditation are numerous and include (1) the assessment of a facility's strengths and weaknesses, (2) the identification of obtainable goals, (3) the implementation of state-of-the-art policies and procedures, (4) the establishment of specific guidelines for daily operations, (5) aid in the defense of frivolous lawsuits, (6) an increase of community support and (7) a higher level of staff professionalism and morale.

Standards are classified into two categories: mandatory and non-mandatory. To be awarded accreditation, applicants must comply with 100% of the applicable mandatory standards and at least 90% of applicable non-mandatory standards. However, the Commission evaluates the conditions of confinement/quality of life as well as standards compliance levels in making their decisions on awarding accreditation.