On July 4, 2004, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s Inmate Education Program achieved national accreditation through the Correctional Education Association (CEA). With that accreditation, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office became the first county jail in the nation to have an accredited inmate education program. Today, the Harris County Jail remains one of only a few county jails in the nation to have an accredited inmate education program. Accreditation through the CEA provides evidence of voluntary compliance with nationally accepted standards for the administration and operation of inmate education programs.
Today, Sheriff Tommy Thomas announced that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s Inmate Education Program has completed an intensive reaccreditation process and has successfully achieved reaccreditation through CEA. Representatives of CEA visited the Sheriff’s Office on June 6, 2007, to review the relevant documentation and to ensure that the Inmate Education Program continues to comply with CEA standards. The Inmate Education Program passed the reaccreditation process “with flying colors.” The new accreditation period will begin July 1, 2007, and will continue through June 30, 2010.
The Inmate Education Program is a cooperative effort between the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Houston Community College System, and the Houston Independent School District. The program is seen as a means of achieving positive behavioral change within a conservative philosophical framework. The core belief underpinning the Sheriff’s Office policy on inmate education is that qualified inmates need to have opportunities to develop the necessary professional and life skills to re-enter the “free world” as productive citizens. Sheriff Thomas remains committed to excellence in the delivery of law enforcement services, and the Inmate Education Program of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office contributes towards the realization of that ideal.