In 2001 the Suffolk County sheriff’s department in Boston faced allegations of mismanagement and abuse of inmates. The sheriff called in the American Correctional Association (ACA) to help lead a special inquiry, but ACA director James Gondles declined to do it because ACA had given the department a “glowing” review in a routine inspection. Last week, The Tennessean reports, Gondles led a three-person team in what Tennessee had called an independent review of the state prison system. Yet the state is accredited by the ACA and has paid more than $40,000 to prepare for annual inspections, said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart.
Stewart called the current review “a sham” and “a rubber stamp for business as usual” citing the earlier episode in Boston. Stewart has repeatedly criticized the ACA and questioned the veracity of the inspection. Tyler Nelson, an officer at DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville, who alleged the department brought in extra staffers for the sole purpose of making the facility appear to be adequately staffed during the ACA’s recent visit to DeBerry. Gondles said the ACA will have a report of findings from its visits ready for the state this week.