Richland jail earns national accreditation

rlowe@thestate.comJune 26, 2014 

— The Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center has been awarded national accreditation by the American Correctional Association after a difficult year.

The decision follows a review of jail operations in 2013 by the association’s Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.

To earn accreditation, a facility must meet 69 mandatory standards and 90% of 300 non-mandatory standards covering such issues as staff training, programs offered to inmates, upkeep of facilities, safety and emergency procedures, sanitation, food services as well as other rules and discipline.

The detention center, located off Bluff Road seven miles southeast of Columbia, met all the required standards and scored a 96.3 on the non-mandatory standards.

The award comes on the heels of an investigation into the facility’s treatment of mentally ill patients following the beating by a guard in 2013 of a mentally ill inmate who was in jail on a trespassing charge. The former guard, Robin Smith, an 18-year veteran of law enforcement, was sentenced earlier this year to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $27,000 in restitution to the beating victim, Robert Sweeper. Six other guards were fired for not reporting the beating.

The detention center houses about 800 inmates, 30 percent of whom have mental issues severe enough to require a monthly visit from a mental health professional. In 2012, the jail reported 1,900 suicide threats, 40 attempted suicides, and one successful suicide.

In a letter to ASGDC Director Ronaldo Myers, the accreditation commission said the institution demonstrated a “high level of commitment to the staff and persons under your care.”

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