Our Independence Matters
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care has no membership or dues. NCCHC does not require any affiliation to be considered for accreditation, certification or employment as a consultant or surveyor, or to serve on committees or the board of directors. NCCHC staff and spouses are not allowed to accept gifts or consulting fees from those we accredit or certify. NCCHC is impartial, unbiased, expert, and dedicated only to recognizing and fostering improvements to the field of correctional health care.
The mission of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care is to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons and juvenile confinement facilities. NCCHC establishes standards for health services in correctional facilities, operates a voluntary accreditation program for institutions that meet those standards, produces resource publications, conducts educational conferences and offers certification for correctional health professionals. NCCHC is supported by the major national organizations representing the fields of health, mental health, law and corrections. Each supporting organization has named a liaison to the NCCHC board of directors to create a robust, multidisciplinary governing structure that reflects the complexities of correctional health care.
NCCHC's origins date to the early 1970s, when an American Medical Association study of jails found inadequate, disorganized health services and a lack of national standards. In collaboration with other organizations, the AMA established a program that in 1983 became NCCHC, an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose early mission was to evaluate and develop policy and programs for a field clearly in need of assistance.
Today, NCCHC's leadership in setting standards for health services in correctional facilities is widely recognized. Established by the health, mental health, legal and corrections professions, NCCHC's Standards present recommendations for the management of a correctional health services system. Written in separate volumes for prisons, jails and juvenile confinement facilities, plus a manual for mental health services and another for opioid treatment programs, the Standards cover the areas of care and treatment, health records, administration, personnel and medical-legal issues. These essential resources have helped correctional and detention facilities improve the health of their inmates and the communities to which they return, increase the efficiency of health services delivery, strengthen organizational effectiveness and reduce the risk of adverse legal judgments.
Building on that foundation, NCCHC offers a broad array of services and resources to help correctional health care systems provide efficient, high-quality care.
NCCHC has offered a voluntary health services accreditation program since the 1970s. Based on its Standards, the process uses external peer review to determine whether correctional institutions meet the standards in provision of health services. NCCHC renders a professional judgment and assists in the improvement of services provided. NCCHC also offers accreditation for opioid treatment programs in correctional facilities, and is the only accrediting body authorized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that focuses on corrections.
NCCHC conferences are renowned for their exceptional educational programs, abundant networking and the best commercial exhibitions in this field. Since it began in 1977, the National Conference on Correctional Health Care has been the must-attend event of the year. Similar in format but smaller in scale, NCCHC's Spring Conference is popular for its content-rich program and cutting-edge topics delivered over four days. Each summer, the two-day Correctional Mental Health Care Conference convenes practitioners and administrators seeking to improve mental health and substance abuse services.
The Certified Correctional Health Professional program recognizes the professionalism of individuals involved in all aspects of correctional health care. Participants have earned the highly regarded CCHP designation by demonstrating mastery of national standards and the special knowledge and skills expected of leaders in this complex and ever-changing field.
Publications and Resources
Our publications catalog features the NCCHC Standards. CorrectCare and the Journal of Correctional Health Care are the leading periodicals in this field. Our website offers access to our Position Statements and other resources.
Consulting and Technical Assistance
Customized consultation and technical assistance are offered through NCCHC Resources, Inc., which assists correctional facilities with issues such as preparing for accreditation, developing policies and procedures, and assessing alternative solutions to problems.