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The Army Corrections Command: bringing it all together.

On Oct. 1, 2007, the Army Corrections Command (ACC) was activated in Washington, D.C., at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes. For the first time in the more than 200-year history of U.S. Army confinement and corrections, the Army has a single headquarters that exercises command and control, operational oversight and policy support for the correctional system. ACC was activated as a field operating agency under the Army's Office of the Provost Marshal General, and is headquartered in Arlington, Va.


ACC exercises leadership and oversight for 1,700 civilian and military personnel, and manages 2,300 military prisoners in military and Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities or on mandatory supervised release or parole. The facilities that comprise ACC are the:

* U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.;

* Regional correctional facilities at Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Sill, Okla.; and Fort Knox, Ky.; and

* Army correctional facilities at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany; and Camp Humphreys, Korea.

During the activation ceremony, the U.S. Army provost marshal general, Brig. Gen. Rodney Johnson, stated, "Today's establishment of the Army Corrections Command might be the most significant change to the Army corrections system since June 1874 when Maj. Thomas Barr convinced Congress to authorize $125,900 to remodel buildings and establish the U.S. Military Prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas." (1) The activation of ACC ensures a unified and consistent application of policy and best practices as Army fulfills its mission to provide U.S. military prisoners with treatment, educational and vocational programs in a safe and secure correctional environment. The ultimate goal of ACC activities is to prepare military inmates either for their successful return to duty or to be productive, law-abiding members of society after their release.

Because Army prisoners are usually in confinement for the first time, have high school degrees, benefit from direct supervision by superb noncommissioned officer leaders, and are afforded access to excellent treatment, educational and vocational programs, they have a good chance of successfully reintegrating into society or, in select cases, returning to military duty. ACC treatment, educational and vocational programs are adapted from the best correctional practices and are tailored to meet the particular needs of Army's prisoner population. Some of the programs offered within the Army Corrections System are crime specific treatment for alcohol and drug abuse that consist of 16 sessions, addressing the medical aspects of chemical dependency, twelve step recovery, cognitive-behavioral approaches to recovery, group therapy and relapse prevention, and goal setting. The Victim Impact class is a 16-hour educational program providing information on victims of virtually all types of crimes to include property crime, identity theft, robbery, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, child physical abuse and neglect, impaired driving, alcohol and drug abuse/addiction, and domestic violence. And of particular benefit to prisoners who experienced combat operations is the Post Deployment Stress program which offers all prisoners the opportunity to share specific scenarios and discuss the characteristics of post-deployment stress related to war and the stages of stress.


Mission and Objectives

In order to achieve this goal of preparing military prisoners either for their successful return to duty or to be productive, law-abiding member of society after their release, ACC has developed a mission statement and strategic objectives. The mission states: "The Army Corrections Command exercises command and control and operational oversight for policy, programming, resourcing, and support of Army Corrections System facilities worldwide. On order, the ACC will coordinate the execution of condemned military prisoners."

The ACC's strategic objectives are to:

* Provide safe, secure facilities for the retributive incarceration of offenders;

* Protect communities by incarcerating offenders;

* Deter those who might fail to adhere to the law or rules of discipline;

* Provide rehabilitation services to prepare prisoners for return to duty or release as civilians with the prospect of being productive soldiers/citizens; and

* Support war fighters worldwide by developing detainee operations experts through experiential learning in a prison environment.

While the strategic goals of ACC in many ways mirror any professional correctional organization, ACC has the unique mission of developing military professionals who can support U.S. enemy detention operations worldwide. These professionals have had a huge impact on professionalizing Army detention operations by training, advising and showing by example what "right" looks like. Soldiers of ACC have been assigned key leadership and advisory positions in detention units and internment facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they used what they learned in military correctional facilities to create operating procedures, reintegration programs, emergency action plans and many other improvements. Additionally, both ACC soldiers and civilians have served on training, advisory and inspection teams, adapting best corrections practices to a complex combat environment. In some cases ACC has turned to other professional corrections organizations to assist and adapt sound correction practices to the modern battlefield. This collaboration has paid, and continues to pay, big dividends.

In addition to the contribution Army corrections professionals have made to U.S. detention operations, they have also contributed to the international effort of developing Iraqi and Afghan correctional systems. As one can imagine, this task is complicated by many factors, to include differing philosophies regarding treatment of prisoners, immature justice systems and the infrastructure of the supported nation. In the end, the system that is created should meet international standards, support local judicial processes, be underpinned by a philosophy supported by the people and be economically sustainable. It is not as simple as recreating military corrections or Department of Justice models, but rather artfully adapting these models to support specific national requirements. Fortunately, correctional professionals engaged in this important work have proved to be adaptive problem solvers and have made significant progress establishing and improving correctional systems.

Goals Met and Goals to Meet

Great things have happened within Army corrections during the past few years, and the creation of this new command will allow the Army to better support and manage corrections from a military service departmental level. One recent success was the American Correctional Association accreditation of the Fort Knox Regional Correctional Facility in Kentucky. As a result, every ACC facility is now accredited by ACA, an accomplishment that makes both command and the U.S. Army leadership extremely proud. Recent successes also include the deployments of the 508th and 705th Military Police Battalions to conduct detention operations in Iraq. Their success in wartime detention operations can clearly be attributed to the experience they gained supporting operations at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and the regional correctional facilities at Fort Lewis.

So, what does the future hold for ACC? Immediate priorities include ensuring that all ACC facilities are renovated or replaced; redesigning and resourcing the personnel structure to better support the ACC mission; and attaining ACA accreditation for the headquarters. Long-term goals include evaluating the return-to-duty programs necessary for an Army engaged in a near of persistent conflict and working with sister services to determine the future of Department of Defense corrections. The immediate priorities are already being tackled. Last June, ACC broke ground for a new regional correctional center at Fort Leavenworth, to join the existing U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. The Army has decided to replace the Regional correctional facilities at Fort Lewis with a brand new facility in 2014. And, talks and initial design efforts are under way with officials in Germany and Korea to explore replacing outdated U.S. military correctional facilities overseas. The Army has also made the decision to invest in additional personnel to reduce dependence on deployable correctional units and to ensure continuity of operations during times of war. These are only a few of ACC's many accomplishments; great leaders throughout the organization continue the hard work necessary to make ACC one of the country's premier correctional systems.

A member of ACC can be easily identified by the unit patch worn on his or her left sleeve. The colored version of the patch is green with a yellow hexagon, which represents the six correctional facilities ACC controls. Three horizontal bars represent setting the bar of conscience against anger. Three vertical demi-spears point down and superimpose the bars. They denote readiness and alertness. The bars and spears form a portcullis, signifying protection. A five-pointed star with a yellow border in the center of the patch symbolizes the command and control of the ACC to rehabilitate offenders in support of the Army and other military departments. (2) ACC's motto is "vanguards of Justice."

As is true for most soldiers, military corrections professionals are often deployed serving a nation at war. Between deployments, men and women not only have to prepare for future combat deployments, but perform their daily missions in military correctional facilities. Those in the corrections profession need no tutorial on how challenging these duties can be and understand that military corrections professionals cannot "take a knee" between deployments. So, when passing a soldier with an ACC patch, please stop and thank them for their service--both to the nation, and to the communities they help protect as dedicated corrections professionals.



(1) Johnson, R. 2007. U.S. Army Provost Marshal General, Speech during Army Corrections Command Activation, 1 October, Arlington, Va.

(2) Crawley, J. 2008. Corrections command soldiers don new patch. Retrieved June 8, 2008, from

Col. Katherine N. Miller, U.S. Army Military Police, is the commander of the U.S. Army Corrections Command

Specialist Heather Giuliano, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, holds up her new Army Corrections Command patch with other USDB and 705th Military Police internment and resettlement battalion soldiers during a unit insignia changover ceremony May 14, 2008, at the USDB.
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Author:Miller, Katherine N.
Publication:Corrections Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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