The National Commission on Correctional Health Care has named South Woods State Prison as Facility of the Year

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) has named South Woods State Prison as its R. Scott Chavez Facility of the Year for the delivery of efficient and effective health care services by Rutgers Correctional Health Care (RUCHC).

The prison, based in Bridgeton and operated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections, was selected from 500 correctional facilities accredited by the NCCHC. 

“South Woods State Prison has been accredited by NCCHC for decades, and during its most recent survey was found to be in full compliance with 100 percent of the NCCHC standards,” said Deborah Ross, NCCHC chief executive officer. “Surveyors found South Woods State Prison to be a model for all other facilities to emulate. We are thrilled to be able to acknowledge their commitment to quality health care with this award.”

South Woods State Prison is the largest and one of the newest facilities managed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections with a capacity of more than 3,000 incarcerated individuals, including some of the most critically ill in the state system. Despite its size, NCCHC surveyors noted that close collaboration between custody, health care and mental health care creates a positive culture focused on high-quality, personalized care provided by RUCHC.

“RUCHC is honored to have provided quality comprehensive health care services to the NJDOC since 2008. In doing so, we have served members of our community who are most adversely affected by social determinants of health,” said Julie M. White, chief operating officer. “RUCHC is committed as leaders in the delivery of effective, compassionate and accessible care within correctional environments, and we are grateful for this recognition by the NCCHC. We are equally appreciative of our multidisciplinary health care team and the NJDOC leadership at South Woods State Prison for their steadfast efforts to provide nationally recognized care during these challenging times.”

Each of the four compounds on the campus has a spacious medical clinic that includes exam rooms, dental offices and mental health consultation rooms with privacy like that found in the private sector. Health care services also include a two-story, extended-care facility for patients who require total care, another unit for those who need assistance with activities of daily living, a 10-bed dialysis unit and a hospice that pairs those facing the end of life with incarcerated companions. Individuals in segregation are housed in a satellite building where they can recreate together, participate in group activities and take part in education; this unit also has its own dedicated clinic area.

“This award is a national honor that validates the hard work and collaboration of the NJDOC and Rutgers University Correctional Health Care in protecting the safety and health of those in the state's custody during the most challenging year yet,” said NJDOC Acting Commissioner Victoria Kuhn. “We appreciate the recognition of the Department's efforts to fulfill its mission of operating safe and humane facilities with a commitment to the well-being of those in the state's custody.”