Samuel Sublett Jr.: standards innovator receives Walter Dunbar Accreditation Award.
In view of his longstanding and groundbreaking service to ACA, Sublett was
presented the Walter Dunbar Accreditation Award at the 123rd Congress of Correction in Nashville, Tenn. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections and is presented annually to a person whose contributions have been above and beyond the call of duty.
"I was very proud to be associated with the name of Walter Dunbar," says Sublett, who worked with Dunbar years ago endorsing standards and accreditation. "He was one of the leaders in the movement and truly one of the great men in corrections."
Sublett describes his work with the Standards Committee and the Commission as "a labor of love" and attributes this in part to the enthusiasm of the people involved. "It's a real pleasure to be recognized for something you did that was fun," he says. This "fun" entailed the arduous task of helping to create ACA's 10-volume set of comprehensive corrections standards, which cover not only adult and juvenile departments, but also other systems such as parole and probation, community-based groups and jails.
According to Sublett, the standards process bolstered the credibility of corrections and the Commission, which had lacked direction before the 1970s. "The Commission had been created with a federal grant but floundered for several years as an independent agency," he says. "Since being brought under ACA's guidance, the Commission has been able to develop and make a significant impact in the field of corrections."
Sublett believes standards will remain a powerful force in corrections' future. "I see it as one of the principal developments in corrections, a major policy issue," he says. "It is in the public's interest."
A St. Charles, Ill., native, Sublett speaks from years of corrections experience. He began his career 41 years ago as a teacher in an Illinois state training school, then advanced to assistant principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent and manager of the state's juvenile system before ultimately becoming accreditation manager for the state's adult and juvenile systems.
Now retired, Sublett is still an active supporter of the accreditation process. He conducts audits for the Commission and consults nationally for ACA.