Comanche County Juvenile Detention Center aces certification

Lawton_The Comanche County Juvenile Detention Center has been certified by the American Correctional Association becoming one of only three of the seventeen juvenile detention centers in the state that has met the ACA standards.  Staying up to par for the honor will take quite the effort - there are 118 standards to meet with a new evaluation every three years.

The ACA certification binder is about eight inches thick - full of requirements that must be met for certification.  The facility employs one person who is solely responsible for keeping the center certified.  "The paperwork is phenomenal," says CCRJDC Superintendent Richard McDonald.  "And the records that we have to keep on the facility - the facility has to be almost perfect," he says.

The center should be extra proud, too.  According the ACA, the facility is perfect - it scored 100% in compliance with the standards.  One requirement is education - Lawton Public Schools does its daily teaching to meet the standards.  Others include- square footage of the living areas, quality of food in the dining hall, mental health of detainees and at least one hour of exercise per day.

The facility is also still being updated.  They're replacing all the doors for safety reasons and updating their control room with touch screens.  Construction is also underway for roll in showers for the disabled.  McDonald says it's all worth it to stay certified.  "It's a huge gold star as far as I'm concerned," he says.  "For your facility to be under their umbrella, it's gotta be top notch."

Not only is this certification great for the facility itself, it's great for the juveniles that will eventually be released into the community.  "These standards help us, help them and it's more of a long term-it's not so much a short term," says McDonald.

The facility opened in 1987 and has been accredited since 1994.  Their audit comes up every three years and each time they have to strive harder in order to meet more standards.  So, this is a really big honor.