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Criminal Justice System Best Practices

The 2020 Jail, Detention/Alternative Programs, Partners, Re-entry and CJAB nomination submission opportunity is now closed.

County jails, detention centers, alternative juvenile programs and partners who assist our county criminal justice efforts are honored each year for their work in this area. The awards program is conducted by the Committee on County Criminal Justice Systems for the 21st Century and is sponsored by CCAP, Pennsylvania County Corrections Association, along with the PA Prison Wardens Association, CCAP Insurance Programs and JDCAP. PA Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel is a founding member of the awards program.

The goal of the awards program is to recognize and acknowledge actual practices known to be in existence in Pennsylvania. Through this program CCAP and the committee hopes to encourage more counties to adopt best practices. The focus of the award is to recognize centers that have implemented best practices such as successful re-entry initiatives, prevention programs, development of effective linkages with community programming in behavioral health programs, and other successful re-entry initiatives.

Entries for each category are listed below. Entries from prior years can be found in the archives.

Large County Jail

Small County Jail

Criminal Justice Advisory Board Best Practices Nominees


Criminal Justice Best Practice Awards Archives

Places of Confinement Resources

Implementation of Place of Confinement (Act 81 of 2008) inmates serving sentences of more than two years.


These materials have been developed by the Pennsylvania DOC County/State Committee, a group of Department of Corrections officials, county commissioners and county jail administrators who meet quarterly to discuss corrections policy, current events and best practices. The group has undertaken the development these resources in anticipation of the November 2011 effective date of Act 81 of 2008. This act, as you likely know, includes provisions requiring inmates sentenced in the range of two to five years to be committed to state facilities as opposed to county jails. The act includes some exceptions for allowing these inmates to remain in county facilities, and the exceptions relate to the available capacity of the county jail.

While the act is written in a way that allows a great deal of local discretion, there are a number of areas where having some guidance and standards may improve the ability of each county to implement local policies. To that end, these resources include some suggested forms, a recommended formula for determining capacity, and details for counties to utilize in determining which state offenders they may house after the effective date who will qualify for reimbursement by the Department of Corrections for eligible work release offenders.

Many statewide associations are working to provide educational information for their members prior to the effective date. These resources were developed with representation from all of these groups, and if utilized across the state, will create consistency that will enhance the effect of the act. Further, opportunities for education are being planned by each affected organization for the near future.

We hope you find the information useful. We also encourage you to provide feedback on the materials, or additional questions to your statewide association so that it can be shared with other collaborating associations and groups. You can contact CCAP liaison Brinda Penyak at 717-232-7554 or via email at bpenyak@pacounties.org, who will assist in directing your communication to the DOC County/State Liaison Committee and your statewide representatives.

Act 22 Service and Prison Elimination Act (PREA)

Act 22 Service

Act 22 went into effect on July 1, 2011 and caps inpatient hospital care for county and state inmates at Medicaid rates and outpatient care at Medicare rates. Additionally, the Medical Assistance qualification can result in up to 50% of the inpatient care being paid by the federal government. Payment of the inpatient hospital bills is handled through the CCAP PIMCC program, providing the Act 22 Service and acting as a liaison between the counties, DPW and DOC.

PIMCC is a medical cost management and education program dedicated to assisting county prisons/jails with the containment of all costs related to prison inmate medical expenses. PIMCC's overall goal is to train, educate, and provide quality managed care, allowing the County to develop a medical cost saving program.



Other Resources

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)


The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was unanimously passed by the United States Congress and signed into Law on Sept 4, 2003 by President George W. Bush. The Act was designed to address sexual abuse in all custodial corrections settings, including prisons, jails, police lock-ups, juvenile justice facilities and community corrections facilities.

In 2004, the first meeting of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC) was held. The NPREC was assigned the task of developing national standards with the purpose to prevent, detect, and eliminate sexual abuse and sexual harassment in adult and juvenile correctional facilities. The law also mandated that the Commission consider the impact of cost and other associated factors which would impact implementation in the varied facility types.

The final standards for Prisons and Jails, Lock-ups, Community  Confinement, and Juvenile Facilities were promulgated in 2012.