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Office of Communications

Posted on: March 14, 2018

National Group Finds No Deficiencies in County Jails

Maricopa County seal (grey)

PHOENIX – Daniel started taking opioids as a “recreational thing” when he was 18, then turned to heroin because it was cheaper and more powerful. One day he did a shot of heroin at his mom’s house and fell asleep with the needle in his arm.

“My sister came in before she went to school to ask me if I had lunch money to give her,” Daniel said. “And she [saw] the needle hanging out of my arm and screamed and ran out of the room.” 

When Daniel landed in the Maricopa County Durango Jail, he found the programs and support he needed to try and beat his addiction. His is one of many stories that highlights the training and dedication of Maricopa County Correctional Health Services (CHS) and the detention officers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).

"Many of the people who come through our jails have significant physical and mental health issues, and the stakes for providing proper treatment are high," said Steve Chucri, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "I applaud the doctors, nurses and detention officers who are bringing innovative ideas that improve outcomes."

Their work is now being recognized nationally in the form of continued accreditation by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) which found no deficiencies at any of the five county jails.

The NCCHC team toured county jails in December and reviewed dozens of medical records, policies and reports to reach its conclusion. When a correctional facility achieves NCCHC accreditation, the message is clear: the staff is committed to providing a high level of care to the patients they serve.

“NCCHC Accreditation represents a culmination of the excellent relationship that exists between CHS and MCSO,” said Dr. Grant Phillips, Medical Director of CHS. “Only through close collaboration and teamwork on every level is the delivery of health care in our large system possible.”

CHS regained accreditation in 2012 and both agencies were recognized as Facility of the Year in 2015. Sheriff Paul Penzone echoed the sentiment that a strong partnership is the key to the success.

“Our outstanding detention officers have to balance the safety of all staff with the healthcare needs of inmates,” said Sheriff Penzone. “They are often put in the position of being first responders. Both groups rely on each other and I’m proud this symbiotic relationship is being recognized at the national level.”

The Maricopa County Jail system is the 5th largest in the United States. The accreditation is based on NCCHC Standards for Health Services in Jails and is valid for 3 years.

About Correctional Health Services

Correctional Health Services provides medical, dental, and mental health services for all individuals incarcerated within the jail system. Every person booked into the jail system receives an evaluation and appropriate services. Correctional Health also runs the nationally recognized MOSAIC program and has adopted the Stepping Up initiative to address the needs of the seriously mentally ill in our jails.

About NCCHC 

With support from the major national organizations representing the fields of health, law and corrections, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care is committed to improving the quality of health care in jails, prisons and juvenile confinement facilities. NCCHC's origins date to the early 1970s, when an American Medical Association study of jails found inadequate, disorganized health services and a lack of national standards. In collaboration with other organizations, the AMA established a program that in 1983 became NCCHC, an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose early mission was to evaluate and develop policy and programs for a field clearly in need of assistance.

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