TDOC picks up 'Gold Eagle' award for corrections work

From Staff Reports

   NASHVILLE -- The American Correctional Association (ACA) is honoring the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) with the organization's "Golden Eagle" award recognizing excellence in corrections. 
   The award goes to correctional systems that are fully accredited. Tennessee's prison system is one of five nationwide that can claim the status of having all facilities and programs accredited.
   "Only a few prison systems in the country currently belong to this select group," according to J.R. Miller, director of Compliance for TDOC.
   Commissioner Donal Campbell received the award on behalf of the department at the ACA's annual summer conference held in August at Anaheim, California.
   Tennessee joins New York, Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana as the only states that are fully accredited.
   "All of our facilities and programs have been accredited by the ACA since 1994. In fact, we actually achieved the status prior to the ACA recognizing systems with this award," said Miller.
   The ACA accredits deserving adult and juvenile institutions, probation and parole agencies, training academies, administrative agencies, county jails, and community residential centers around the world.
   The ACA requires compliance with 41 mandatory and more than 450 non-mandatory standards, according to Robert J. Verdeyen, the ACA's director of standards and accreditation.
   The Tennessee Correction Academy, the department's training facility, and central office were initially accredited in the early 1990s. 
   Both received recommendations for re-accreditation from the ACA earlier this year, along with the TDOC's Northeast Correctional Facility in Mountain City.
   The Tennessee Department of Correction has an annual budget of nearly $500 million and consists of 14-prison complexes housing nearly 18,000 inmates.