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Virginia Department of Corrections — Public Safety First

News: Press Releases

For Release: January 26, 2001 - Contact: Larry Traylor, (804) 674-3574

Wallens Ridge State Prison Receives ACA Accreditation - Compliance is Highest of all Accredited State Facilities -

RICHMOND – Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) Director Ron Angelone announced today that Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, has been awarded accreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA). To date, Wallens Ridge has achieved the highest compliance rating of all state facilities receiving accreditation from ACA for compliance with national standards.

“The public safety of our great Commonwealth has clearly been improved thanks in part to the dedicated men and women employed by the Virginia Department of Corrections,” said Secretary of Public Safety Gary Aronhalt. “Opponents and pundits in the field of corrections should make special note and join me in congratulating Director Angelone and the staff at Wallens Ridge in this achievement.”

Wallens Ridge was in 100% compliance with 41 applicable mandatory standards and 99% compliant with 410 of the 414 applicable non-mandatory standards. The ACA audit team evaluated the conditions of confinement and found the overall quality of life to be excellent. Quality of life is a major consideration and relates to sanitation, education, inmate programs, and staff and inmate communication within the facility.

“ACA is the nationally recognized benchmark organization in the field of corrections,” said Director Angelone. “ACA accreditation of Wallens Ridge State Prison is the clearest indication yet that the Virginia Department of Corrections is a model correctional agency and proven innovative leader in a manner consistent with sound constitutional correctional principles. These results confirm Virginia’s national leadership role in corrections and Wallens Ridge staff are to be commended for their efforts.”

The ACA accreditation program is a professional peer review process based on national standards that have evolved since the founding of the ACA in 1870. These standards were developed by national leaders in the field of corrections and include experts in law, architecture, health care, and other groups interested in sound correctional management.

Wallens Ridge State Prison, opened in April 1999, is the second of two super-max facilities built in Southwest Virginia. Red Onion State Prison, Virginia’s first super-max prison, was accredited in August 2000. Other previously accredited facilities in Virginia include Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Sussex I State Prison, and Southampton Men’s Detention Center. Statewide Adult Probation and Parole Services have also been accredited by ACA.