Accreditation is a voluntary process in which the Adult Probation Department participates to demonstrate compliance with probation standards established by the American Correctional Association (ACA). The Circuit Court of Cook County Adult Probation Department, which became accredited in 1990, is the largest accredited probation agency in the United States.
As an accredited agency, the department is subject to reaccreditation audits every three years. During the reaccreditation process, ACA auditors review department policies and practices to determine compliance with 227 standards. The standards cover several areas of operations including caseload management, training, administration, presentence investigations, finance, research and citizen involvement. In addition to reviewing documentation, the auditors visit facilities and interview staff members and probationers.
In order to remain accredited, the department must comply with 100 percent of the mandatory standards and 80 percent of the non-mandatory standards. Any non-mandatory standards found to be in noncompliance must have an action plan that demonstrates how the department will come into compliance with that standard.
In May 2009, the department was found to be in 99.5 percent compliance. The department's next reaccreditation audit is scheduled for May 2012 for the period of May 2009 through May 2012.
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