Friday, February 26, 2010

New Clayton Prison passes audit

The Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility (NENMDF) in Clayton passed its first American Correctional Association (ACA) audit with flying colors this week, scoring 100 percent on both mandatory and non-mandatory standards. The audit report now goes to the Commission on Accreditation, which will meet in Chicago, Ill., this summer, to review the results and determine whether accreditation will be granted.

ACA standards ensure the safety and well-being of staff, inmates, and the community. The standards determine nearly every aspect of prison life, from the temperature of meals, to how soon after intake an inmate should be interviewed by mental health professionals to how many square feet of living space each inmate should receive. The audit team found NENMDF compliant with the 57 mandatory standards and 428 non-mandatory standards applicable to the facility.

ACA accreditation is a voluntary process, but the New Mexico Corrections Department requires all prisons within its system to be ACA accredited. New Mexico is one of only a few states with the ‘Eagle Award,’ a special distinction for having all applicable areas of its agency ACA accredited.

NENMDF’s three-person audit team complimented the prison staff. Auditor Robin White of Georgia commented on something that had never before occurred during one of her audits. She said, “Inmates said the best part of being here is the staff.” The auditors said comments like that highlight the professional culture that’s being cultivated at NENMDF. The auditors were: J. Patton Dellow, correctional consultant from Lincoln, Ill., Rodney Bivens, director of corrections and personnel for the Knox County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Department, and Robin White, correctional consultant from Savannah, Ga. The audit was conducted February 22-24, 2010.

The GEO Group, Inc. operates the Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility. NENMDF is a medium-security prison, housing 600 New Mexico Corrections Department male inmates. The facility opened in 2008.

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