MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Morris County Jail has received renewed accreditation from the America Correctional Association (ACA), getting high marks as one of the best run correctional facilities in the nation.
The ACA formally issued its accreditation, giving the jail a nearly perfect score on its physical plant, programs and safety based on a report issued by a three-member team of the ACA, which spent three days in May 2015 at the jail in Morris Township to assess operations.
The Morris County correctional facility is one of only two jails in the state and one of only 145 county jails nationwide to be accredited. It has received accreditation every three years since first applying in 2003.
“This is a terrific achievement which reflects the dedication and professionalism of the management and staff at the county jail,’’ said Freeholder Doug Cabana, who is the county governing board’s liaison on law and public safety issues.
“I commend the men and women who work at the correctional facility for their dedication and hard work for the citizens of Morris County in keeping the facility one of the best in the nation,’’ added Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford.
The ACA panel’s reaccreditation audit found few flaws in the jail’s operation. Among many findings, the report stated:
- The facility employs a comprehensive, well-integrated and intelligently designed security system.
- The facility provides a pleasant environment to live and work.
- Sanitation is obviously given a high priority throughout the facility.
- The entire dining operation was clean and well organized.
- The medical staff should be commended for the incredible job they do in providing a very inmate centered healthcare program.
The accrediting agency also found that there have been no legal consent decrees, class action lawsuits or adverse legal judgments against the county jail over the past three years.
The report was authored by ACA panel members Wynnie Samuels, a corrections consultant from Florida; Frank Milano, a retired captain of the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office in Virginia; and Marmie Schuster-Walker, a corrections consultant from Arlington, Virginia.
Accepting the re-accreditation award for the county, at a session on Sunday in New Orleans were Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford and Corrections Officer Michael Chereches.
The “new’’ Morris County Correctional Facility opened in May of 2000 at a site on John Street in Morris Township, near the borders of Hanover Township and Morristown. The six story building, considered to be one of the premier jails in the nation, includes eight housing pods totaling 277 cells with the capacity to house a total of 528 inmates.
The jail utilizes a direct supervision management style, a somewhat unique departure from traditional jails but one which has proven to be a safer method of managing inmate populations.
The direct supervision jail, through a combination of architectural design, classification philosophy, inmate ground rules and officer deployment, dispenses with physical boundaries and instead, uses behavioral boundaries to effectively control inmate behavior.
The result is significantly lower rates of assaults and lawsuits by inmates and allows for less expensive construction due to the improved behavior of inmates.
The jail’s eight housing pods are open, self-contained living units which house between 64 and 72 inmates. This architectural design enhances supervision, increases perimeter security and effectively divides inmates into manageable groups.