MCCS Auditors Find Harford County Detention Center 100% Compliant
(HARFORD COUNTY, MD) — For the first time in its history, the Harford County Detention Center achieved 100 percent on-site compliance with every standard mandated by the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards (MCCS). The seven-member auditing team, which visited the Detention Center April 14-16, 2004, found the facility to be “not only compliant, but exceptional.”
“This is an outstanding facility,” said Nolan V. Rollins, an MCCS staff member and audit team member. “You have a great operation here and [Warden Richard Aiello] should be proud of every employee and the job they’ve done.”
During the on-site audit, team members toured and inspected the Detention Center and its records to determine whether the facility was in compliance with approximately 80 mandated standards addressing security and inmate control, inmate safety, inmate food services, inmate housing and sanitation, inmate rights, classification, hearings and administrative record-keeping and training.
To be found compliant, the facility had to prove “routine and consistent implementation” of every standard since the previous MCCS audit. Auditors determined compliance through inspection of the facility, interviews with employees and inmates, and inspection of facility records.
“In all the areas we looked at, record-keeping was exceptional,” said Ernestine DeVance, MCCS staff member and audit team leader. “You are doing an excellent job and you should be commended.”
Warden Aiello, in a post-audit meeting April 16, thanked each of his staff members for their “outstanding efforts.”
“To have MCCS come in and recognize us not only as individuals, but what we have accomplished as a team, is an honor,” Aiello said. “We are a team, and if it were not for the efforts of the entire team, there would not be 100 percent compliance.”
Established in 1980, the MCCS conducts regular formal audits of every state, local and private adult correctional facility to determine compliance with Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services standards for public health, safety and welfare. If the audit process uncovers any deficiencies, Commission members suggest corrective action plans and provide technical assistance as needed to facility officials, who then have approximately six months within which to correct the deficiency and document compliance.
For the first time in the history of the Harford County Detention Center, the MCCS audit team found the facility to be “in total compliance” (on site) with every MCCS standard, with absolutely no remedial action necessary.
Audit team members made the announcement to Detention Center personnel at a post-audit meeting, where they praised staff members for their cooperation, dedication, and professionalism.
DeVance commended Warden Aiello and the entire Detention Center staff for their continuing efforts in ensuring that the Harford County Detention Center maintains the highest standards for its employees and inmates.
“Others [correctional officials] say, ‘We have an old jail. What can you do with an old jail?’” DeVance said. “I’m going to recommend they come to Harford County and see what you can do with an old jail.”
DeVance also commended Standards Manager Christy Royster for the “outstanding job” she did in managing the preparation for the audit. Formerly Program Director for the Harford County Detention Center, Royster was promoted to the position of Accreditation and Standards Manager in July 2003. This MCCS audit was the first audit completed under Royster’s direction.
“It makes me proud to say we achieved 100% compliance on-site for the first time ever,” Royster said. “This would not have been possible without the efforts of this entire staff. I am very proud of every one of them.”
In August 2003, an auditing team from the American Correctional Association (ACA) inspected the Harford County Detention Center and found it to be in 100 percent compliance with all mandated standards and nearly 95 percent compliance of all applicable non-mandatory standards.
Unlike the MCCS audit, the ACA auditing process is entirely voluntary. The Detention Center undergoes this rigorous accreditation process voluntarily as a way to ensure that the facility is in compliance with nationally accepted standards and to demonstrate to the community that the facility is operating at acceptable professional levels.
The accreditation process also allows Detention Center staff to assess the facility’s strengths and weaknesses; identify and achieve obtainable goals; establish specific guidelines for daily operations; aid in the defense of frivolous lawsuits; achieve an increased level of community support, staff professionalism and morale; and implement practical, up-to-date policies and procedures that safeguard the life, health and safety of Detention Center staff and inmates.