Allan L. Patenaude
Accreditation is both a process within and a goal of corrections. The contemporary structures now in place for institutions and agencies to be accredited indicate an increasing professionalism within the field of corrections. Just as universities must be accredited in order to award degrees and to be perceived as legitimate places of learning, penal facilities seek accreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA) to indicate that they are offering their services at a particularly high level. Unlike other processes of accreditation, however, there is no negative effect of failing to be certified. One of the premises of modern institutional corrections is that offenders are sent to prison as punishment rather than for punishment. Through the accreditation process, correctional professionals are able to assess and improve all aspects of confinement within an institution and the conditions for those persons working within its walls. Yet accreditation is not a panacea that will ...