American Correctional Association

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The American Correctional Association (ACA), formerly known as the National Prison Association, is the oldest and largest international correctional association in the world. Approximately 80 percent of all state departments of corrections and youth services are active participants.[citation needed] Also included are programs and facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the private sector. ACA accredits over 900 prisons, jails, community residential centers (halfway houses) and various other corrections facilities in the U.S. using their independently published Standards manuals.


The ACA was originally founded under the name National Prison Association in 1870. The name was officially changed in 1954 with hopes of having a name that more accurately reflected the organization's philosophy on corrections.[1] In 2011 ACA began to branch out and the first detention facilities outside of the U.S. or Canada were audited. In January 2012 four Mexican facilities became accredited by ACA using their Core International Standards manual.[2]

According to their website ACA currently has more than 5,000 members.[3]


ACA hosts bi-annual conferences every year in different cities around the U.S. The first conference is the "ACA Winter Conference" with the year included in the title before ACA. Summer months play host to ACA's second conference of the year, the Congress of Correction. Notable speakers at ACA conferences have included General Richard Myers, Congressman Danny Davis, presidential campaign director Donna Brazile, presidential candidate and commentator Pat Buchanan, covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, TV anchor Laurie Dhue, political analyst Charlie Cook, and Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak.


Executive Office[edit]

Executive Director: James A Gondles, Jr. - After serving as the sheriff of Arlington, Virginia, James A. Gondles, Jr. became the Executive Director of ACA in 1990. Gondles has a long history of mistreating staff he is charged with overseeing, dating back to his days as Sheriff of Arlington County. He was accused of sexual harassment, "acts of abuse of power," fraternizing and having sex with female deputies, bullying top aides and targeting Arlington County employees who supported his opponent during his 1987 campaign for Sheriff.[4] Gondles invited a myriad of lawsuits against himself and the county as a result of his mistreatment of staff. In 1988 while he was serving as Sheriff of Arlington County, The Citizens for Law and Constitution alleged that Gondles had performed "acts of abuse and power" as sheriff. The acts included bullying his top aides and bragging about having sex with female deputies. Earlier in the same year, he settled out of court for 25,000 dollars and publicly apologized after his deputy Debora Mulvey accused him of sexual harassment.[5]

Financial records show that the average ACA employee is paid $33,000/year (well under the living wage for the Washington, DC area) but he himself is paid about $250,000/year plus an additional $20,000 of "other" income and benefits.[6]

Deputy Executive Director: Jeffrey Washington [7]

Executive Committee[edit]

Current President: Mary L Livers

Vice President: Michael Wade

Treasurer: Gary C Mohr

Board of Governors[edit]

Board of Governors Representatives to the Executive Committee:

  • Burl Cain, CCE
  • William E. Peck


Past Presidents[edit]

  • Harold Clarke (2008-2010)[9]
  • Daron Hall (2011-2013)
  • Christopher B. Epps (2013-2014) - Epps resigned from his position as President of the Association on November 5, 2014 following dozens of indictments on charges Epps had taken kickbacks for nearly $1 billion worth of private prison contracts.[10] Epps also resigned from his full-time job as Corrections Commissioner for the state of Mississippi on the same day.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ACA History". American Correctional Association. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Accreditation of the Mexico Federal Prison System: utilizing core international standards". 
  3. ^ "Past, Present and Future". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "PIERSON v. GONDLES". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Officers at the American Correctional Association". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Contact Us". 
  8. ^ "Col. Joseph F. Scott Dead. Ex-Superintendent of Prisons of New York Dies in Denver". New York Times. December 15, 1918. Retrieved 2013-11-26. Colonel Joseph F. Scott, former Superintendent of Prisons of New York, died on Dec. 7 at the home of his brother in Denver, Colorado ... In 1900, Col. Scott was elected president of the National Prison Association. ... 
  9. ^ "2014 E.R. Cass Awards". American Correctional Association. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "The Prison Reform Blues". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 

External links[edit]