Columbiana inmate rehabilitation facility receives perfect marks

A Columbiana-based inmate education facility recently achieved a perfect score after a two-day audit by a national accreditation organization.

The Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility, which works to rehabilitate inmates charged with non-violent crimes before they enter work-release programs and are released into society, achieved a 100 percent compliance score after a two-day audit by the American Correctional Association.

Following the audit, the American Correctional Association recommended the Shelby County facility be nationally accredited, a rare achievement for a facility as new as Columbiana’s, said Dr. Robert Mackey, senior vice president of Community Education Centers, the facility’s parent organization.

“Since opening in March of 2008, the Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility has provided quality re-entry treatment services to Alabama Department of Corrections’ offenders,” Mackey said. “Achieving ACA accreditation with a 100 percent score less than two years after opening is a testament to the quality staff at ATEF.”

While at the rehabilitation facility, inmates go through assessments, individual and group counseling, substance abuse treatment, several types of job training, family services and follow-up services after they are released.

Inmates also participate in lectures covering several topics from addictive and criminal thinking to addiction recovery and family skills.

During the audit, American Correctional Association employees reviewed the facility’s “services, programs and operations essential to effective correctional management,” according to a Community Education Centers press release.

“Any facility’s initial accreditation is always the most challenging,” said American Correctional Association Accreditation Manager Tina Price. “The staff at ATEF did a superb job, and should be proud of their efforts and the services they provide.”