Standards and accreditation for jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities

Joseph V. Penn

in Oxford Textbook of Correctional Psychiatry

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780199360574
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190224042 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks in Psychiatry

Standards and accreditation for jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities

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  • Forensic Psychiatry


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Numerous challenges confront correctional health staff in serving the needs of incarcerated adults and juveniles. Effective screening, timely referral, and appropriate treatment are critical. Their implementation requires interagency collaboration, adherence to established national standards of care, and implementation of continuous quality improvement practices and research on the health needs of this vulnerable patient population. Effective evaluation and treatment during incarceration meets important public health objectives and helps improve health services and effective transition into the community upon release. Many types of ‘free world’ health care organizations—such as hospitals, nursing homes, and psychiatric facilities—are accredited by the Joint Commission. Similarly, jails, prisons, juvenile detention, and other correctional facilities may be accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (a spinoff from the American Medical Association), the American Correctional Association, the Joint Commission, or a combination of the above. Although national accreditation is typically voluntary, it is often a contractual requirement for universities, other health care systems, and private vendors who provide health care services to correctional systems. In addition, when facilities undergo investigation or litigation, or are placed in receivership or federal oversight, they are often mandated to establish and maintain national accreditations. This chapter presents a brief historical narrative of the events that resulted in the development and adoption of national jail, prison, and juvenile correctional health care standards; a cogent review of jail and prison standards with particular relevance to psychiatry and mental health; and discussion of accreditation programs.

Chapter.  5130 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Forensic Psychiatry

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