"The end goal is to fix people.” That’s what retired command evaluator/accreditation manager, William thinks. He has two decades of military corrections experience to back up that statement. “It’s a great honor being recognized by the American Correctional Association,” William said. “It is a recognition that in turn has to be shared with all facility personnel. Accreditation is truly a team effort.”
William served at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar — specifically the Southwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility (JRCF SW). He worked as the brig’s accreditation manager beginning in 2005, but his first experience came in 1994 when the brig had just completed its initial accreditation; and again in 1997 when it was reaccredited. At that time, he was serving as the executive officer (deputy warden). In addition, William served his facility as a construction program technical consultant, CPR instructor, discipline board alternate chair, parole board member, women’s program committee member, internal review and quality assurance member, and parole revocation hearing officer. “No one person’s contribution is more valuable than the next individual’s. Being recognized as one of the ‘Best in the Business’ is saying that JRCF SW is the best at what it does,” William said.
After retiring from the military in 1999, William worked for seven years in the private sector at the Braille Institute of America, San Diego Center, as the facilities director. “Working with the blind and visually impaired, especially the younger children, was a very humbling experience,” William recalled. “I subsequently was hired as the command evaluator/accreditation manager. I reported to work on Monday morning and learned that the triennial reaccreditation audit was to begin on Wednesday. Approximately 20 to 25 standards still needed additional documentation to show compliance. Needless to say, the next 48 hours were very busy.”
To illustrate that type of situation, William has been described by former colleague Brewster Schenck, CCE, shared services director, Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar, as “highly dedicated” and someone “not content to sit back and accept the status quo.” To the contrary, Schenck said, “He is always looking for ways to improve the quality of command management processes and … to streamline or improve procedures.” In turn, William credits Schenck, among others, with “shaping and formulating policies related to Navy and military corrections for [more than] 24 years. Working with them, the civilian staff and other members of the military (all four services), made the job both challenging and rewarding.”
Total compliance, according to William, can only be achieved if everyone is willing to make the facility top-notch. “Part of my job was to get personnel to buy into that philosophy. When new staff arrived, the commitment to ACA standards and what it means to them professionally and personally was continually re-enforced during initial and weekly training presentations and daily evaluations.”
The job was rewarding. William remembers receiving letters (usually written to the commanding officer) or hearing about former inmates becoming successful after being released as one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. “Corrections is a very demanding job and can be a thankless task. When a former inmate takes the time to write and thank the professionals at the brig for his or her subsequent success, it is very gratifying. It tells us as an organization dedicated to ACA principles that we were successful.”
That success, he added, could not be possible without family support. “It is an essential element to any successful person. My wife, Mary, has been with me for more than 42 years. Her comfort and support those many long days before a reaccreditation audit was the ‘calmin the storm.’ She always was there at the end of day.”
While William realizes that “accreditation managers are not always the most popular people working in a facility, especially before an audit … their diligence to ensure compliance with ACA standards and the corrections profession continues to help turn lives around and make communities safer,” he said. “The end goal is not [always] about achieving a 100-percent compliance rating.” We need to “give them the tools and skills [they need] to be able to return to the community and become productive members of society.”