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Jail Inspection Basics 2007 Doj Guidebook

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U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Corrections

2d e d i t i o n

Jail Inspection basics
An Introductory Self-Study Course
for Jail Inspectors

U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Corrections
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Morris L. Thigpen
Director
Larry Solomon
Deputy Director
Virginia Hutchinson
Chief, Jails Division
Jim T. Barbee
Correctional Program Specialist

National Institute of Corrections
World Wide Web Site
http://www.nicic.org

2d

e d i t i o n

Jail Inspection basics
An Introductory Self-Study Course
for Jail Inspectors

Thomas A. Rosazza
March 2007
NIC Accession Number
022124

This document was funded by cooperative agreement number 02P11 from the
National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or
opinions stated in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily
represent the official opinion or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cover and interior compass images ©Photodisc Illustration/Getty Images 1998.

Contents

Foreword  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
Preface  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  ix
Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xi
Overview  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xi
How To Use This Manual  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xi
Example of a Test Question  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xii
Chapter 1: Legal Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Section 1–1.	 Involvement of the Courts in Correctional Matters  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Section 1–2.	 Structure of State and Federal Courts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Section 1–3.	Precedent, Case Law, and Jurisdiction:
How the Judicial Branch Makes Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Section 1–4.	 How the Executive Branch Makes Law  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Section 1–5.	 When Legal Conflicts Arise: Types of Liability  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Section 1–6.	 Proof and Remedies in a Civil Rights Suit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Section 1–7.	 The Litigation Process  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Section 1–8. 	 The Inspector as an Advisor: Two Gender-Related Issues  . . . . . . . . 15
Section 1–9.	The Inspector’s Role in Developing a Plan of Action Before
Lawsuits Arise  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Section 1–10.	 Lawsuits Against Inspection Programs: Two Case Studies  . . . . . . . 18
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Bibliography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

iii

Contents

(continued)

Chapter 2: Standards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Section 2–1.	 Standards and Their Basis in Law  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Section 2–2.	 Standards Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Section 2–3.	 Standards Defined  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Section 2–4.	 Understanding How Standards Work  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Section 2–5.	 Categories of Standards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Section 2–6.	 Lockup, Jail, Prison, and Community Correctional Standards  . . . . 37
Section 2–7.	 Interpretations, Clarifications, and Opinions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Chapter 3: The Inspection Process  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Section 3–1.	 Purposes of an Inspection  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Section 3–2.	 Types of Inspections  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Section 3–3.	 Documentation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Section 3–4.	 Elements of the Inspection Process  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Section 3–5.	 Data Collection  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Chapter 4: Facility Design  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Section 4–1.	 Major Jail Design Concepts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Section 4–2.	 Components of a Jail Facility  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Section 4–3.	 Separate Housing Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

iv

Section 4–4.	 Custody Levels and Construction Costs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Section 4–5.	 Considerations in Jail Capacity Planning  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73	
Bibliography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74	
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77	
Chapter 5: Communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Section 5–1.	 Written Communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Section 5–2.	 Interpersonal Communication Skills  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Section 5–3.	 Conducting Interviews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Section 5–4.	 Conflict Resolution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Section 5–5.	 Media Relations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Section 5–6.	 The Inspector as a Consultant  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Section 5–7.	 The Technical Assistance Role of the Inspector  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94	
Bibliography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95	
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97	
Chapter 6: Government Structures and Processes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Section 6–1.	 Management Functions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Section 6–2.	 Government Structures  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Section 6–3.	 Jail Funding Mechanisms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Section 6–4.	 Fiscal Years and Jail Budget Processes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Section 6–5.	 The Chain of Command  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110



Contents

(continued)

Section 6–6.	 Differences Between Prisons and Jails  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112	
Bibliography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113	
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115	
Chapter 7: Resources  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Section 7–1.	 National Resources  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Section 7–2.	 National Standards and Accreditation Programs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Section 7–3.	 State and Local Agencies  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Section 7–4.	 Special Interest Groups  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Section 7–5.	 Resource Guide for Jail Administrators  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126	
Bibliography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127	
Web Sites for Resource Organizations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127	
Answer Key  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129	

vi

Foreword

The role of the jail inspector reflects the complexity of today’s jails. Assessing compliance
with standards is only part of that role. The
inspector must also be prepared to serve as
communicator, facilitator, and consultant—in
other words, must be able to help a jail identify
and solve its problems. It is a challenging role
for a new inspector, even one who brings to the
position technical expertise and experience in
the field of corrections.
Although the number of new jail inspectors each
year is relatively small, the need for effective
training is clear. In response to that need, the
National Institute of Corrections (NIC) worked
with state inspection agencies to develop the
first Jail Inspection Basics self-instruction
manual, in use since 1990. Reflecting input
from experts nationwide, this second edition
is a welcome successor to the original.
Jail Inspection Basics includes two volumes.
The Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail

Inspectors covers a variety of topics that provide
a frame of reference for the inspector’s wider
role and responsibilities. Inspectors can move
through the manual at their own pace, answering questions at the end of each section to check
their progress. To personalize the training,
inspectors are encouraged to discuss each chapter with their supervisor. The Supervisors Guide
prepares supervisors for these conversations by
providing questions and answers keyed to the
manual and a list of discussion topics for each
chapter.
NIC thanks author Thomas A. Rosazza and the
many others whose contributions made these
volumes possible. We hope that this new edition
of Jail Inspection Basics will be a practical and
effective training tool for every state inspection
agency.
Morris L. Thigpen, Sr.
Director
National Institute of Corrections

vii

Preface

In response to a need for jail inspector training, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC)
sponsored a meeting in Boulder, Colorado, in
1988. The meeting was attended by several
administrators of state jail inspection agencies,
who articulated training needs and helped NIC
develop strategies to meet those needs. One
major area of need that surfaced was training
for new jail inspectors. Because the number of
new inspectors each year is relatively small,
NIC could not offer them formal training. The
administrators recommended development of a
programmed instruction training manual. Two
years later, Jail Inspection Basics became available. This manual has served at least part of the
training needs of new inspectors since 1990.
In 2003, jail inspection chiefs across the
nation expressed a desire for an update of the

original manual. A committee of inspection
administrators reviewed the Jail Inspection
Basics text and recommended that NIC fund a
revision. In 2005, NIC granted the New York
State Commission of Correction funds to oversee the revision process. Donald R. Nadler,
Deputy Director of Operations, was the project
manager, and Thomas A. Rosazza, author of
the original manual, was selected to write the
revision. Mr. Nadler reviewed the revised text,
as did Audrey Bakke, Field Representative,
Facilities Standards and Operations Division,
California Board of Corrections. Jail inspection chiefs reviewed revisions as the process
moved along; their active involvement ensures
that the updated manual realistically addresses
the needs of new jail inspectors. Jim T. Barbee,
NIC Correctional Program Specialist, was the
NIC grant monitor for the revision project.

ix

Introdu ct ion

Overview

How To Use This Manual

The goal of this revised manual is to address the
entry-level training needs of jail inspectors by
providing a programmed instructional text that
is generic, measurable, and self-administered.

This manual presents a programmed instructional text that is designed to be self-administered.
The text is arranged in chapters and sections.
The following information will be helpful in
using the manual:

Many new jail inspectors enter their positions
with technical knowledge of correctional operations based on their experience working in program areas or as correctional officers. However,
the complexity of even a small jail requires
the inspector to possess knowledge and skills
beyond the field of corrections. In addition to
assessing compliance with standards, the inspector must be able to serve as communicator,
facilitator, advisor, consultant, problem identifier, and problem solver.
Although roles and responsibilities differ from
state to state, it is possible to identify certain
skill requirements common to most jail inspectors and to train them in those skills. That is the
intent of this manual.
The manual addresses a variety of topics identified by a panel of experts who see the need for
an entry-level training vehicle for inspectors. It
is not intended as a terminal training activity,
but rather one that can assist the inspector by
providing a frame of reference for the wider role
and responsibilities of the position.

l	

Each chapter begins with a narrative and
performance objectives, which provide a
focus for the chapter and direction for any
subsequent discussion between the jail
inspector and his or her supervisor.

l	

Within the chapter, each section presents
one or more pages of information. Read the
information carefully; make notes or underline the text.

l	

Following each section are several questions
about the material covered in the text.
The questions are true or false, multiple
choice, fill-in, short essay, or matching.
Answer each question, referring to the text
if necessary.

l	

After completing the questions for a section,
you may check your answers by referring to
the answer key at the end of the chapter.

l	

After completing a chapter, you are encouraged to meet with your supervisor so you
can ask questions about the material and
“personalize” the training to suit the particular needs of your agency and state.

xi

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Please note: If multiple copies of the manual
are available in your agency, you may mark in
the text. If only one manual is available, please
do not mark in the text; instead, use separate
paper to take notes and answer questions.	

Q&AExample of a Test Question
PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION
1.	This text is designed for _ _______________
You would answer Question 1 based on what
you have read and know about this course. You
would write the best answer and then refer to
the answer key, which would look like this for
question 1:
1. Jail inspectors.
If you were correct, you may move on. If not,
reread the text if you have any questions about
the answer.

xii

ChapTer 1

Legal Issues

Chapter 1: Legal Issues
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:
	 1.	 Identify (a) several factors that led to the involvement of the courts in correctional matters,
(b) the constitutional basis for prisoner suits and trends facing corrections today, and (c)
basic inmate rights that are founded in case law. (See section 1–1.)
	 2.	 Identify the structure of state and federal courts and list their similarities and differences.
(See section 1–2.)
	 3.	 Define the terms “case law,” “precedent,” and “jurisdiction” and their impact on
correctional agencies. (See section 1–3.)
	 4.	 Identify the authority of the executive branch to develop law and the types of law it can
create. (See section 1–4.)
	 5.	 Identify three types of liability and how each applies to correctional personnel.
(See section 1–5.)
	 6.	 Identify the remedies a court may impose in a civil rights suit. (See section 1–6.)
	 7.	 Identify several elements of litigation and courtroom demeanor. (See section 1–7.)
	 8.	 Identify issues related to cross-gender supervision and sexual misconduct. (See section 1–8.)
	 9.	 Identify the role an inspector may play in helping counties develop plans of action to correct
jail deficiencies and understand how such plans can reduce the potential for liability.
(See section 1–9.)
10.	 Based on case studies, identify elements of potential liability for inspectors.
(See section 1–10.)

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issu es

Since the mid-1960s, federal courts have intervened in correctional matters. Prior to that time,
the courts’ unofficial policy was “hands off”—
for a number of reasons. One was the assumption that the courts had no expertise in security
and control. Another was the belief that the
security interests of a correctional facility took
precedence over the individual’s constitutional
rights. Further, the separation of powers doctrine
of the U.S. Constitution was interpreted to mean
that the courts had no business in correctional
matters.
With the advent of the civil rights movement in
the early 1960s, the “hands off” policy fell by
the wayside. Prisons and jails became subject
to civil rights litigation as deplorable conditions
and treatment of inmates came under closer
scrutiny. The vehicle used to involve the federal
courts was Title 42, Section 1983, of the Federal
Civil Rights Act of 1871. Once the courts recognized this avenue for bringing suits, litigation
proceeded in several areas. Inmates sued using
the 1st, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments to the
Constitution. The result of this court intervention was the development of an extensive body
of case law, which became the basis for the
eventual development of state and national standards for prisons and jails.
Although civil rights suits remain prevalent
in corrections today, the substantial body of
case law serves to guide correctional administrators in their efforts to address civil rights
issues. Knowledge in this area is central to the

inspector’s ability to assist the correctional
administrator in applying the law to daily facility operations.
This chapter examines the state and federal
judicial structure, including the courts’ jurisdiction in criminal and civil suits. The chapter also
discusses the various types of law, with emphasis on the derivation of case law. Litigation and
liability are also addressed, as are constitutional
rights of inmates and staff.

Section 1–1. Involvement of the Courts in
Correctional Matters
Hands-Off Era
Prior to the 1960s, courts were not involved in
correctional matters. In fact, there was more of
a refusal to be involved, for several reasons.
One reason had to do with the doctrine of
separation of powers. This doctrine holds
that federal, state, and local governments are
all divided into three separate and distinct
branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
The courts strongly defended this separation,
recognizing that corrections was a function of
the executive branch. They stressed that it was
inappropriate to be involved in the affairs of the
executive branch. To be involved would be a
violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Another reason was the lack of judicial
expertise. The courts took the position that they
lacked the knowledge and skill to determine how



Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

correctional institutions should be managed.
The courts also regarded inmates as “slaves of
the state,” taking the position that all inmates
should lose their rights because they were
charged with or convicted of a crime. Finally,
there was the issue of institutional security
and discipline. The courts felt that intervention
might threaten institutional security and that
inmates should be disciplined for their crimes.

Era of Judicial Intervention
During the 1960s and 1970s, the attitude of
the courts began to change. Following the
civil rights movement in the 1960s, a number
of cases first arose over police authority and
alleged violations of individuals’ rights. It did
not take long for litigation to move from police
cases to cases involving jails and prisons. In
1971, riots erupted at Attica Prison in New York.
Negotiations to release hostages received a great
deal of coverage on television and in the newspapers, exposing the internal conditions of prisons to the public. The Attica riots signaled the
end of the “hands-off” era for the courts.
In the 1970s, several significant court decisions
addressed correctional administration and the
rights of inmates. These decisions were based
mainly on the 1st, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The next subsection summarizes these amendments and how
they have been interpreted in ways that affect
corrections.

U.S. Constitutional Amendments
l	

l	



First amendment: Guarantees freedom of
religion and access to the press, mail, and
libraries.
Sixth amendment: Guarantees due process
in disciplinary hearings, including the right
to representation at such hearings.

l	

Eighth amendment: Bans the use of cruel
and unusual punishment and encompasses
a variety of cases addressing matters such
as overcrowding, conditions of confinement,
and medical services.

l	

Fourteenth amendment: Guarantees equal
protection under the law and extends the
rights of the U.S. Constitution to the states.
Prior to the passage of this amendment, the
Bill of Rights applied only to the federal
government in its relations with citizens.
The 14th amendment, passed after the Civil
War, required the states to recognize these
rights as well.

Using these amendments to the Constitution,
cases have touched almost every area of correctional administration, including staffing; access
to courts, counsel, mail, telephone, reading
materials, and libraries (particularly law libraries); religion; personal, professional, and media
visits; medical care; searches; recreation and
exercise; food services; classification and segregation, discipline, and due process; and living
conditions.

Section 1983 of the Federal Civil Rights Act
The legal basis for the intervention of the
federal court in corrections is Title 42, Section
1983, of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1871.
This act, also known as the Anti Ku Klux Klan
Act, was passed after the Civil War and was
intended to protect the rights of citizens from
the excesses of governmental agents. The act
(to paraphrase) provides that:
Any person acting under the color
of law who deprives anyone of rights
secured by the Constitution of the
United States shall be liable to the
injured party.

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

The courts have allowed inmates to initiate civil
suits (thereby becoming the plaintiffs) using
Section 1983. Because they are operating under
the “color of law,” correctional officials can be
sued (thereby becoming the defendants). In a
suit, the plaintiff must allege and prove that the
defendant deprived him or her of constitutionally protected rights or that the defendant
violated U.S. laws. The plaintiff may then seek
monetary or other types of relief.

	 3.	 In citing lack of judicial expertise, the
courts were saying that _________________
	

_____________________________________________

	

_____________________________________________

	

_____________________________________________

	 4.	 The issue of __________________________
relates to the notions that judicial intervention into correctional matters would threaten

In the few cases where jail inspectors have been
sued, the issue was non-enforcement of state
standards. The lesson is that the inspector must
be vigilant in efforts to enforce standards.

institutional security and that inmates
should be disciplined for their crimes.
	 5.	 The idea that inmates should lose their
rights because they were convicted of a

Summary
This section shows how the courts have moved
from a hands-off doctrine to become increasingly involved in correctional operations. This
involvement has touched almost every aspect
of correctional operations and has left correctional officials, including jail inspectors, open
to lawsuits.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–1
	 1.	 The courts had a hands-off policy prior to

crime refers to the notion that they were
	

_____________________________________________

	 6.	 Two reasons for the intervention of the
courts in corrections in the 1960s and
1970s were:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
	 7.	 Indicate which amendment to the U.S.
Constitution each of the following descrip-

the 1960s because of a doctrine related to

tions refers to:

the three branches of government. The

a. Cruel and unusual punishment:_________

doctrine is called_ _____________________

b. Access to the press:_ _________________

	 2.	 The three branches in governmental
structures of the United States are:
a.___________________________________

c. Due process:________________________
d. Equal protection:_ ___________________
e. Freedom of religion:__________________

b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________



Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	 8.	 List 10 areas of jail administration and
operations that have been affected by court

	14.	 Section 1983 refers to the law that allows
____________________________________

decisions:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
e.___________________________________
f.___________________________________

Section 1–2. Structure of State and Federal
Courts
Lawsuits against jails are brought through federal or state courts. Each state has a federal
court system and a state court system. This section addresses the similarities and differences
between federal and state courts.

g.___________________________________
h.___________________________________
i.___________________________________
j.___________________________________
	 9. 	Another title for the Anti Ku Klux Klan Act
is___________________________________
	10.	 The phrase “Any person, who under the

Trial Courts
Persons who are charged with and convicted
of state criminal laws are tried in state
criminal courts. Disputes regarding contracts
or injuries between citizens of the same state
are heard in state civil courts. Constitutional
questions, such as those involving Section 1983,
can be heard in state civil courts, but generally
the plaintiffs sue in federal court.

color of law” refers to any governmental
agent of state and local government.
_____ True _____ False
	11.	 Section 1983 applies equally to state and
federal laws and constitutions.
_____ True _____ False
	12.	 The term “plaintiff” refers to the _ ________
_________________________ and the term

Federal courts are similar in structure to the
state courts. Violations of federal criminal law
and civil suits regarding alleged violations of
federal law or the U.S. Constitution are heard
in federal district courts. Persons who are
convicted of federal criminal offenses and sentenced to prison become inmates of the federal
government. Contract and injury cases may
be heard in federal district courts if the opposing parties are from different states and at least
$10,000 in damages is alleged.

“defendant” refers to the ________________
	

_____________________________________________

	13.	 Since Section 1983 is a federal law, suits
can only be brought in federal courts.
_____ True _____ False



Court Structure and the Appeals Process
Both state and federal court systems have different levels. Generally, at the lower level are the
trial courts, which hear criminal cases and civil
suits. The losing party in a trial may appeal to
an appellate court. In the appellate courts, a
case is not retried. It is reviewed on the record.
The appellate courts only hear arguments from

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

both sides regarding matters of law in the case,
not the facts of the case. The judges do not
rehear the testimony of witnesses or reexamine
all the trial evidence. What they are most concerned with are legal errors of the trial judge
regarding issues such as admissibility of evidence, instructions to the jury, etc. All courts are
ultimately under the authority of the U.S.
Supreme Court, the final arbiter in all cases
that come before it. The general structure of the
state and federal courts is illustrated in the chart
at the bottom of this page.
Federal courts are divided into 13 circuits.
Circuits are divided geographically and are, to
some extent, evenly distributed according to
population. There are 94 federal districts within
the 13 circuits. The federal district courts are
trial courts. Cases are appealed to the circuit
court of appeals for the circuit in which the
district court is located. Cases from the circuit
court of appeals may be appealed to the U.S.
Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court only
hears about 2 percent of the cases appealed to it,
thus allowing the circuit court of appeals decisions to stand in most cases.
State courts are similarly structured, but with
local differences depending on the state. At the
trial level, states may have a variety of municipal
or county courts such as small claims court,

landlord/tenant court, domestic relations
court, civil court, and criminal court. (Lower
level trial courts may not be authorized to have
jury cases, but juries generally are used in criminal and civil courts involving serious cases.)
Cases can be appealed to a state appellate court
or directly to the state supreme court, in a manner similar to that in the federal courts. Cases
can also be appealed from the state supreme
court to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In both the federal and state systems, appeals
courts consist of several judges (generally no
fewer than three). The appellate judges consider
the case before them and render a written opinion based on a majority vote.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–2
	15.	 The two court structures in every state are:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
	16.	 Federal crimes and suits alleging violations
of federal laws are heard in which of the
federal courts? ________________________
____________________________________

United States Supreme Court

Federal

State

U.S. circuit courts of appeals

State supreme court (highest state court)

U.S. district courts

Intermediate level
Court of appeals
Municipal or county court (trial level)



Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	17.	 The courts that hear civil and criminal cases
are referred to as _____________________ ,
and higher level courts that may review
lower court decisions are known as
	

_____________________________________________

	18.	 At the appellate level, cases are usually
retried.
_____ True _____ False
	19.	 The highest level of appeal in a case
originating in a state court is the state’s
supreme court.
_____ True _____ False
	20.	 There are 13 federal district courts, which
are, to some extent, evenly distributed
across the nation according to population
and geography.
_____ True _____ False
	21.	 List five different types of state trial courts:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
e.___________________________________

Section 1–3. Precedent, Case Law, and
Jurisdiction: How the Judicial Branch
Makes Law
Courts have a unique power to create law. When
a state or federal appeals court decides a case
and issues a written opinion, that opinion is
referred to as case law or precedent. The decision or opinion has the full force and effect of
law within that court’s jurisdiction.



For example, if a state appeals court decided
that strip-searching newly booked inmates
requires “probable cause,” that would be the
precedent or case law in that state. This means
that all jails and police lockups in the state
would be required to have probable cause before
strip-searching newly booked inmates. If the
state statute or jail standards had required only
“reasonable suspicion” (a lower level of proof),
the appeals court would have, by its action,
declared that law or jail standard unconstitutional or illegal and created the higher level of proof
(“probable cause”).
Note that precedent or case law is written and
is law. The written opinion is printed in bound
law books or reporters. The law books are
used by attorneys to research case law either in
preparing cases they are currently litigating or
in developing the basis for appeals. Before law
books or reporters are published, cases are documented in monthly or quarterly publications.
These are the vehicles for disseminating new
case laws before they can be printed in bound
law books.
A number of jail, prison, and corrections periodicals are available. They are invaluable resources
as they address the latest opinions in case law.
Often these periodicals highlight a particular
issue of current interest (e.g., suicide, searches).
These highlights examine the issues by looking
at case law across the nation, indicating trends
and the latest in judicial thought. The highlights
may also include opinions from legal scholars.
Precedent is a most important element of our
system of justice, as it is binding on all lower
courts. Precedent is also the law that governs
correctional administrators. Many correctional
standards today, especially those referring to
life, health, safety, or constitutional matters, are
based on precedent or case law.

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

A state supreme court can affirm or invalidate
the precedent of a state appeals court. If
affirmed, the lower court’s decision stands.
If invalidated, a new precedent is established
through the state supreme court’s opinion.
On the federal level, things are a bit more complicated. A circuit court of appeals in the first
judicial circuit may decide a matter one way,
and the court in the fifth judicial circuit may
decide it in another. For example, the first circuit may decide that probable cause is needed to
strip-search, whereas the fifth circuit may decide
that only reasonable suspicion is necessary. In
this case, precedent or case law for the first circuit is probable cause, and case law for the fifth
circuit is reasonable suspicion. If there are sufficient differences across all the federal circuits,
the U.S. Supreme Court may decide to settle
the issue. Its decision is case law or precedent
that is binding on all state and federal courts.
Further, all state and federal laws and standards
must conform to the new case law established
by the U.S. Supreme Court. When the precedent
of a state appeals court differs from that of a
federal appeals court, the precedent of the federal court (a higher authority) is binding on all
the states within its jurisdiction.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–3
	22.	 Precedent has the full force and effect of
law within the jurisdiction of the issuing
court.
_____ True _____ False
	23.	 Another term for precedent is ____________

	24.	 Precedent is established when a judicial
opinion is ____________________________
	25.	 How are law books or reporters used by
lawyers? _____________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
	26. Precedent is often the basis from which
correctional standards are developed.
_____ True _____ False
	27.	 Indicate true or false for the following
statements about precedent:
a.	Precedent established by an appeals court
can be reversed by a higher level court.
_____ True _____ False
b.	A higher level court can establish a new
precedent after reviewing a case.
_____ True _____ False
c.	Precedent in one federal circuit may
differ from precedent in another federal
circuit.
_____ True _____ False
d.	If there are sufficient differences among
federal circuits, the U.S. Supreme Court
may decide to settle the issue and establish new precedent.
_____ True _____ False

____________________________________



Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

e.	All state and federal laws and standards

	29.	 Jail standards that have the effect of law are

must conform to precedent established by

normally published as __________________

the U.S. Supreme Court.

____________________________________

	 _____ True _____ False
	30.	 If the legislature authorizes the executive
branch to create law, it does so by

Section 1–4. How the Executive Branch
Makes Law
The executive branch of government has the
power to enact laws that are different from
those that originate in the legislative and
judicial branches. Executive branch laws are
called “administrative law” and include codes
and regulations issued by state, county, and
municipal governments. State jail standards are
among these.
Typically, state jail standards are published as
administrative rules and regulations. The
authority to publish rules and regulations is
delegated to the executive branch by the legislative branch and is subject to legislative review
as addressed in an administrative procedures
act. In many states, this process involves publication of the proposed standards in a state
register, followed by a period of review and
public hearings, legislative review, and final
publication in the register before the standards
are finally approved.

________________________ that authority.

Section 1–5. When Legal Conflicts Arise:
Types of Liability
If a jail inspector or any other public official is
sued and the plaintiff (the one bringing the suit)
wins, then the official is found liable—similar
to a finding of guilt in a criminal trial. There
are different types of liability. Depending on the
type, the official may or may not be personally
responsible for monetary damages.
l	

Official liability is a finding that a public
official is liable in his or her official capacity. If found officially liable, the official
does not have to pay damages or attorney’s
fees. The government automatically pays for
the liability.

l	

Personal liability means that a public official may be found liable as a private person. If so, he or she is personally liable for
damages and attorney’s fees. The official’s
agency may pay for his or her liabilityrelated costs totally, partially, or not all.
In some cases, the same individual may be
found both officially and personally liable.

l	

Administrative or vicarious liability
means that an official is responsible for the
acts of employees. An administrator may be
personally or officially liable for such acts if
the administrator was aware of a pattern of
misconduct and did nothing about it.

After this process is concluded, the rules and
regulations have the full force and effect of law.
Eventually, the regulations are published in a
manual of administrative regulations.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–4
	28.	 Laws made by the executive branch are
most commonly referred to as _ __________
and _________________________________

10

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

If a plaintiff can prove administrative liability,
then the administrator, the agency, and the
county (or state) can be held liable. The plaintiff’s advantage in attaching the case to them is
clear: Because they may have “deeper pockets”
than the individual employee whose conduct is
in question, damages may be higher. Plaintiffs
may attempt to prove administrative liability in
several areas:
l	

l	

l	

l	

l	

l	

Q&AReview Question for Section 1–5
	31.	 Identify the following descriptions as official, personal, or administrative (vicarious)
liability:
a.	A person is found liable as an individual.
__________________________________

Negligent hiring. This area of liability
relates to an agency’s responsibility to hire
qualified employees and weed out those
who are obviously unfit.

b.	A person is found liable as an agent of
government.
__________________________________

Negligent assignment. When a supervisor
knows that an employee is obviously unfit
for an assignment, the supervisor is obligated to change that employee’s assignment.
Negligent retention. If an employee is unfit
for further employment and is retained, the
supervisor can be held liable for the misdeeds of that employee.
Negligent entrustment. This area of liability involves situations in which, for example,
employees are authorized to use the employer’s property, such as off-duty weapons or
automobiles. If they abuse that authorization
and injure someone, the supervisor can be
held liable.
Negligent direction. The absence of a written policy and procedure manual may be
enough in itself to prove that a supervisor
was negligent in directing employees.
Negligent training. A supervisor has an
affirmative duty to train employees, and the
failure to do so may result in liability.

c.	A person is found liable because of the
acts of employees.
__________________________________

Section 1–6. Proof and Remedies in a Civil
Rights Suit
To prove liability under Section 1983 of the
Civil Rights Act, the plaintiff (the party bringing
the suit) must show that the defendant (the party
being sued):
l	

Deprived the plaintiff of constitutional
rights.

l	

Was acting under the color (authority) of
state law.

l	

Had some personal involvement in the
deprivation. (This can include prior knowledge that conditions existed, failure to act
to correct those conditions, or failure to
instruct staff to correct the conditions.)

11

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

If the defendant is found liable, damages that
can be awarded under Section 1983 are:
l	

Nominal damages. If the plaintiff has no
substantial loss, the award may be a trifling
sum. However, the award affirms that the
plaintiff’s rights were violated.

l	

Compensatory damages. This award will
“compensate” the plaintiff for the injury,
e.g., loss of property, and nothing more.

l	

Punitive damages. An award of punitive
damages affirms a finding of misconduct in
which the court punishes the defendant for
willful disregard of the plaintiff’s rights.

In addition to damages, the plaintiff in a
Section 1983 suit may also ask the court for
an injunction. For example, the court may be
asked to order a jail to cease or change certain
practices or implement new procedures. An
injunction could cover issues such as visiting
and exercise.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–6
	32.	 Identify the following damages as
compensatory, nominal, or punitive:
a.	The court acknowledges that there was
wrongdoing and penalizes the defendant
for willful violation of the plaintiff’s
rights. _____________________________
b.	The plaintiff is awarded money for the
actual loss suffered. __________________
c.	The plaintiff has no substantial loss but is
awarded a trifling sum. _______________

12

	33.	When the court orders that the jail cease
operating in a certain manner, that order is
called_ ______________________________

Section 1–7. The Litigation Process
Steps in the Process
The process of civil litigation includes all
the steps involved in pursuing or defending a
lawsuit. The process generally takes a long time.
It can be terminated at any point if the parties
decide to settle or if the plaintiff decides to drop
the case. The significant steps in the civil litigation process are listed below. Keep in mind
that this list is a barebones outline of a complex
process.
	 1.	 Plaintiff’s complaint. Litigation starts with
the filing of a complaint. The complaint
claims a civil wrong and sets out factual and
legal allegations.
	 2.	 Defendant’s response. In the answer to the
complaint, the defendant admits or denies
the plaintiff’s allegations and states the
defense.
	 3.	 Pretrial proceedings. This lengthiest part
of litigation includes discovery—a process
intended to open the plaintiff’s and defendant’s cases to each other. The surprises
seen in television courtroom dramas are not
allowed in real life. Because of the backlog
of cases in most courts, each side must learn
the strengths and weaknesses of the other
side’s case. The discovery process encourages settlement out of court. If the case goes
to trial, discovery allows the trial to proceed
more efficiently.
	 4.	 Trial. The plaintiff and the defendant
present evidence during the trial.

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

	 5.	 Decision. This is the verdict or finding
rendered by the judge or jury.
	 6.	 Judgment. This is the finding the judge
announces in favor of the plaintiff or
defendant.	
	 7.	 Enforcement of the judgment. If necessary, the court forces the losing party to
adhere to the judgment.

More About Discovery
Even if not a party to the lawsuit, a jail inspector may be involved in discovery. The inspector
may be required to provide information to either
side of the dispute. If information is requested,
it must be provided in accordance with the
state’s public information act. Most states
have such an act, which outlines what can and
what cannot be provided. Questions about the
appropriateness of providing information can be
referred to the jail inspection agency’s counsel.
Interrogatories are a common type of discovery device. These are written questions from one
side to the other; answers are given in writing
and under oath. Interrogatories are usually the
first step in gathering information in the discovery process.
Requests for production of documents can
include any type of official document (e.g., jail
inspection reports, memoranda, policies and
procedures, records, incident reports). Requests
must be related to the lawsuit. Sensitive materials may be withheld if the court so orders.
A deposition is a formalized question-andanswer session in which witnesses or parties
to the suit are interviewed, usually by the attorney representing the other side. The deposition is conducted under oath, and answers are
recorded word for word. If the answers provided

at trial are different from those at deposition,
the attorney may attempt to discredit the witness
because of the discrepancies.

Your Legal Representation
When a lawsuit is filed, correctional employees, including jail inspectors, understandably
become concerned about legal representation
and the potential for personal monetary loss.
County employees are usually represented
by the county attorney, or, if insurance is
involved, by an attorney retained by the
insurer. Because most jail inspectors are state
employees, they are usually represented by the
attorney general’s office. Generally, this representation is at no cost if it is determined that the
employee acted within the scope of authority
and without malice, fraud, or corruption.

Working With Your Attorney
The inspector who is a party to a lawsuit should
work cooperatively with the attorney by providing timely and accurate information. Because
cases tend to drag on and on, sometimes for
years, the inspector should be aware that not
hearing from the attorney does not necessarily
mean that the case is over. If any concerns arise
about representation, a simple phone call may
be all that is necessary to allay them.

Courtroom Demeanor
If called as a witness, it is important to realize
that your testimony and behavior may determine
how the case is settled. Keep in mind the following basic considerations in testifying:
	 1.	 Dress appropriately. Research shows that
the most credible witnesses wear either gray
or dark blue suits and a red tie with a small
repeating pattern. In any event, do not wear
flashy clothes.

13

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	 2.	 Speak clearly and loudly. Make sure each
juror and the judge can hear the testimony.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–7

	 3.	 Position the body. Sit straight but comfortably. Fold your hands on your lap or place
them on the arms of the witness chair. Avoid
distracting personal habits. Maintain eye
contact with the questioner, and then direct
your answer to the jury and/or the judge.

	34.	 The process of _______________________

	 4.	 Be calm. Testifying can be nerve wracking,
and the opposing attorney may try to rattle
you. Take a breath before answering
questions.
	 5.	 Listen to the question before answering. Do not anticipate the question. Before
answering, listen to the entire question and
then pause a moment in case an attorney
objects to the question. Answer only the
question asked. If you do not understand
the question, ask for a clarification.

includes all of the elements to pursue or
defend a lawsuit.
	35.	 Arrange the following steps in the litigation
process in the order they usually occur:
_____ a. Pretrial proceedings.
_____ b. Decision.
_____ c. Plaintiff’s complaint.
_____ d. Enforcement of the judgment.
_____ e. Trial.
_____ f. Defendant’s response.
_____ g. Judgment.
	36.	 Generally, the attorney general’s office will
defend a jail inspector in a civil suit if the

	 6.	 Testify from memory. You do not have to
memorize everything, but it is usually better
not to use notes. A witness who appears to
know the facts without referring to notes is
more credible. An exception may be a witness whose job involves making log entries
or preparing incident reports.
	 7.	 Do not guess or speculate. If you do not
know the answer, say so.
	 8.	 Review earlier statements. If you were
deposed during the discovery process,
review that testimony.
	 9.	 Be yourself. Remember that your credibility
as a witness is essential to the successful
resolution of the case.

inspector acts within the ________________
____________ and without ______________
____________________________________
	37.	 Indicate which of the following statements
about the discovery process are true by
circling letters:
a. It encourages settlement of disputes out
of court.
b. It discourages surprises when a case goes
to trial.
c. It opens each side’s case to the other.
d. It relates to the backlog of cases in
courts and promotes the efficient use
of court time.

	10.	 Do not argue. Arguing can make a witness
seem arrogant or antagonistic, and the jury
or judge may view the witness as biased.

14

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

	38.	 Indicate which part of the discovery process
(interrogatories, document production, or
deposition) each of the following statements
describes:
a.	In this question-and-answer session, the
witness is under oath.

Section 1–8. The Inspector as an Advisor:
Two Gender-Related Issues
Often, the jail inspector is asked for advice on
legal issues. Obviously, the response should not
exceed the inspector’s knowledge in these areas.
On the other hand, the inspector should not shy
away from giving such advice.

__________________________________
b.	A witness can be discredited at trial if his
or her answers are different from those
given at this discovery phase.
__________________________________
c.	In this discovery phase, the jail inspector may be required to submit inspection

Cross-Gender Supervision
One area of particular concern is cross-gender
supervision (CGS)—female staff supervising
male inmates and male staff supervising female
inmates. This is an emotional issue as well as a
legal one. The legal issue is supported by Title
VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and is subject to enforcement by the Equal Employment
Opportunity (EEO) Commission.

reports.
__________________________________
d.	This phase involves written answers to
written questions from the other side in a
lawsuit.
__________________________________
	39. If a jail inspector is sued, the litigation
process is likely to proceed swiftly and the
inspector should expect to be in continual
contact with the attorney.
_____ True _____ False
	40. When testifying in court, you should be sure
to provide all the information you think is
important to the case.
_____ True _____ False

Since the issue first arose in the 1970s, considerable case law has developed on the subject
(the specifics of which are beyond the scope of
this text). Typically, suits have been brought by
female staff who felt discriminated against, male
staff who felt their safety was jeopardized, or
inmates who felt their right to privacy had been
violated (especially where nudity was involved).
The courts have generally held that CGS is legal
and appropriate. When weighing an inmate’s
right to privacy against a woman’s right to work,
the courts look to reasonable accommodations
to protect the latter. In some states, CGS is forbidden when constant observation is required
and during female inmates’ regular hours of
sleep.
Despite the courts’ clarity about CGS, the jail
inspector is likely to find that the issue remains
controversial within the corrections profession.
If asked about CGS, the inspector should be
clear in providing information about its legality
and about the potential for lawsuits if officers
are not allowed to supervise inmates of the

15

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

opposite sex. The inspector should emphasize
that CGS is a sensitive issue and urge management to address the issue address through training and supervision.

	42.	 Cross-gender supervision is supported by

Many resources are available through state and
local EEO commissions to assist in the transition to CGS. In most states, jails have addressed
the issue with success; these jails may be a good
starting point for answering questions on the
subject.

	43.	 Since cross-gender supervision is supported

Sexual Misconduct

	44.	 To successfully implement cross-gender

A related issue that inspectors may encounter
involves sexual misconduct by correctional
staff in their dealings with inmates. Although
the issue is contemporary, the phenomenon
probably is not a new one. Most states have
enacted laws criminalizing sexual relations
between staff and inmates and recognizing that
such relations cannot be consensual.
Managers must be aware that sexual misconduct is possible even with the most trusted staff
members. This awareness should be evident in
policies and procedures that establish systems
for monitoring jail operations and minimizing
opportunities for sexual misconduct. If state
standards exist regarding sexual misconduct,
they should, at a minimum, address the following: screening prospective employees, establishing clear policies on sexual misconduct, training
staff in policies, supervising staff who are in
close contact with opposite-sex inmates, investigating all allegations of sexual misconduct, protecting the inmate when allegations are made,
and referring action to the local district attorney.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–8
	41.	 The term “cross-gender supervision” refers
to __________________________________

16

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It is enforced through the 	_______________

by law, it is something that the corrections
profession has openly accepted and
encouraged.
_____ True _____ False

supervision, management must address the
issue through:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
	45.	 Sometimes sexual relations between staff
and inmates are consensual and therefore of
no concern to jail managers.
_____ True _____ False

Section 1–9. The Inspector’s Role in
Developing a Plan of Action Before
Lawsuits Arise
Developing a plan of action to correct noncompliance with jail standards can assist a county
if it is sued. Every jail inspection will uncover
some violation of standards, no matter how
minor. However, many jails are in substantial
noncompliance with standards. The inspector
can be a valuable resource to a county that is
serious about correcting the deficiencies of its
jail and avoiding potential liability related to
jail conditions.
Addressing noncompliance with standards—
known as an acceptable beginning—is a
defense used in jail conditions litigation. It
indicates recognition and acknowledgment by

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

the county that the jail has serious problems,
shows that the county has a planned strategy
to address and correct these problems before a
suit is filed, and demonstrates the good faith
of county officials. The notion of an acceptable
beginning recognizes that the problems did not
occur overnight and that the solutions will not
happen overnight. It is important to emphasize
that this defense is most effective if it is done
voluntarily by the county and initiated before
a lawsuit is filed.	
A successful assertion of the acceptable beginning defense gives a county breathing space
to solve its jail problems and may essentially
forestall judicial intervention. This defense
neither alleviates the need to correct unconstitutional conditions nor justifies postponing actions
to correct situations that require immediate
attention.

In regard to the acceptable beginning defense,
the inspector can be an important resource to the
county in three ways:
l	

Bringing the defense to the attention of the
county before a lawsuit is filed and encouraging the county to take action.

l	

As an objective party, assisting in development of a master plan or a plan of action.

l	

Documenting when compliance with a particular standard occurs.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–9
	46.	 An _________________________ means
there is recognition and acknowledgment
by the county that the jail has serious prob-

To assert an acceptable beginning defense, the
county must develop a master plan or a plan
of action. The jail inspector can assist in this
process. The plan will detail each violation of
standards, include remedies to address each
violation, and set forth a realistic timetable for
addressing each violation—with the most serious violations addressed first.
Although the acceptable beginning defense
has been used by a number of counties, the
courts are not obligated to accept the defense.
Nevertheless, using this defense places officials
in a better position than attempting to argue that
they do not have the money to correct the problems. This so-called budgetary defense is no
defense at all: courts have clearly stated that if a
county operates a jail, it must provide the funds
to operate it constitutionally.

lems. Further, it shows that the county has
a planned strategy to address the problems
____________________________ a lawsuit
is filed.
	47.	 The notion of an acceptable beginning
recognizes that solutions to jail problems
cannot be corrected overnight.
_____ True _____ False
	48.	 The assertion of the acceptable beginning
defense may give counties breathing space
in addressing and solving jail problems.
_____ True _____ False
	49.	 The acceptable beginning defense allows the
county to postpone addressing unsafe jail
conditions.
_____ True _____ False

17

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	50.	 The three basic elements of a master plan or
a plan of action are:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________

and lost in the other, but the win-loss record
is less significant than the issues litigated. It is
important to examine these issues with a view
to eliminating similar conditions if they exist in
your state.

c.___________________________________
	51.	 A jail inspector can encourage a county to
address jail deficiencies before a lawsuit is
filed and can also assist in developing a plan
of action.
_____ True _____ False

Section 1–10. Lawsuits Against Inspection
Programs: Two Case Studies
Although surprisingly little of the considerable
jail-related litigation to date has involved state
jail inspectors as defendants, such litigation
could be forthcoming. If jail standards are not
enforced, it is easy to see that the jail inspector
may be sued under Section 1983, as the inspector “operates under the color of law.” Further,
if an inspector fails to exercise enforcement
authority, it could be alleged that such failure
caused deprivation of an inmate’s constitutional
rights.
Subsequent chapters cover the inspector’s role
and the inspection process in depth. The point
to emphasize here is that inspectors must be
aware of their authority and exercise it in a firm
and fair manner. Not doing so may be seen as
abuse or misuse of authority, which could result
in a lawsuit against the inspection program, its
administrators, and/or individual inspectors.
State jail inspection programs have been sued
in at least two instances. Although these are old
cases, they illustrate how inspection programs
may be found liable for failure to enforce standards. The plaintiff won (prevailed) in one case

18

The Florida Case
In the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) was concerned about conditions in Florida’s jails. Instead of suing each
jail or seeking improvements in jails one at a
time, the ACLU identified one mechanism that
could affect all of the state’s jails: the authority
of the secretary of corrections, who had statutory supervisory responsibility over all jails.
Specifically, that responsibility included the
establishment of minimum standards, inspection
of jails according to the standards, and enforcement of the standards through either closure or
removal of inmates.
After considerable litigation, the secretary
entered into a consent decree with the ACLU.
A consent decree is an agreement between the
parties in a suit to certain stipulations. The
agreement is not a judgment of the court but
more of a solemn contract. It is filed with the
court, and any violations of the agreement can
be cause for further litigation. In the consent
decree negotiated between the parties in the
Florida case, it was agreed that the Department
of Corrections would:
l	

Inspect each jail twice per year.

l	

“Vigorously, promptly, effectively, and
thoroughly” enforce the jail standards by
suing noncomplying counties. Such action
was to be taken within 7 days if a situation
appeared “to pose a substantial and immediate danger to life, health or safety.”

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

l	

Upgrade standards regarding space, medical
screening, sick call, comprehensive medical
care, compliance with fire and health codes,
and inmate classification.

The Texas Case
In 1985, the Texas Jail Commission (TJC)
was sued by the ACLU in a similar attempt to
improve jail conditions. Among the many specific allegations was the assertion of several
“structural” problems in the way TJC was carrying out its responsibility. The lawsuit was not
successful, but the issues litigated are important
to note.
First, it was alleged that the inspection process
was inadequate for detecting and recording violations of TJC standards. The ACLU asserted
that:
l	

Inspectors were not trained.

l	

The number of inspectors was inadequate
(there were 3 inspectors for 254 county
jails).

l	

Inspectors lacked the proper equipment
(e.g., light meters to detect violations).

l	

Inspectors did not talk to inmates.

l	

Inmate complaints were sent back to the
jails without holding the inmate’s name
in confidence.

l	

Inspectors did not note noncompliance with
nonmandatory violations.

Another significant allegation was that TJC did
not adequately enforce its standards. It was specifically alleged that TJC ignored violations or
allowed long periods to pass without requiring

correction, did not issue notices of noncompliance, and did not provide updated copies of the
standards to inmates.
It was also alleged that TJC granted numerous
variances to counties regarding fire safety, space
for mentally ill inmates, outdoor exercise, and
dayroom space.
Finally, the ACLU alleged that the jail standards
themselves were vague and inadequate in areas
such as construction, interior design and furnishings, safety, crowding, staffing and supervision, staff training, health care, and exercise.
On appeal, the suit was dismissed because
TJC’s alleged failure to carry out its duty to
promulgate minimum standards of construction,
maintenance, and operation for county jails was
not the cause of the alleged constitutional violations by county jails. Further, the court found
that TJC had no obligation to abolish constitutionally substandard conditions or activities in
county jails.

Lessons Learned
The important lesson from both cases is that
any jail standards and inspection program
can be sued over issues such as adequacy of
standards, the inspection process, training
of inspectors, enforcement of standards,
and granting of variances. Depending on the
issues, program administrators and/or individual
inspectors may be involved as defendants.
An important part of the inspector’s role is
doing as much as possible to prevent successful lawsuits. In completing subsequent chapters,
always keep in mind that inspectors operate
under the “color of law” and are, therefore,
responsible for carrying out their authority in
a firm and fair manner.

19

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Q&AReview Questions for Section 1–10
	52.	 Jail inspectors are subject to a Section 1983
suit because they operate or have authority
under _______________________________
	53.	 When an inspector fails in the duty to
exercise authority firmly and fairly, this
may become a matter of potential liability.
_____ True _____ False
	54.	 In a ____________________________, the
parties in a suit agree to certain conditions,
and the agreement is filed in court.
	55.	 List three requirements that resulted from
the Florida jail inspection case:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________

20

	56.	 List four allegations in the Texas jail inspection suit:
		 a.___________________________________
	

__________________________________

		 b.___________________________________
		 __________________________________
		 c.___________________________________
		 __________________________________
		 d.___________________________________
		 __________________________________

Conclusion
In this chapter, you have learned the history of
how the courts became involved in correctional
matters. More than one expert will affirm that
were it not for the involvement of the courts in
inmate rights and jail conditions, we would not
have had the impetus to establish jail inspection
authorities across the nation. The profession has
responded with standards and accepted practices
that facilitate effective, professional jail management. Today, we see managers who are aware of
best practices and have implemented standards
into their daily jail operations. The result is an
ever-improving quality of life for inmates and
an increasingly safe environment for jail staff.

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

Bibliography
Allison, Tom L., and Thornton, Georgette S.
1989. Cross-Gender Supervision. The History
of Women in Corrections. Training Program
Materials. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, National Institute of Corrections. NIC
Accession Number 007346.
Barrineau, H E. 1994. Civil Liability in Criminal
Justice, 2d ed. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson
Publishing Co.
Boston, John, and Manville, Daniel E. 1995.
Prisoners’ Self-Help Litigation Manual, 3d ed.
New York, NY: Oceana Publications.
Cohen, Fred. 2000. The Mentally Disordered
Inmate and the Law. Kingston, NJ: Civic
Research Institute.
Collins, William C. 1998. Jail Design and
Operation and the Constitution: An Overview.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 014848.
Dale, Michael J. 1987. Corrections as a
Part of County Government. Legal Aspects
of Corrections. Training Program Materials.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections.
Dole, Robert. 1982. Reversing court control of
corrections. Corrections Today (February): 24.

Lund, Lynn. 1986. Planning of New Institutions.
Legal Aspects of Corrections. Training Program
Materials. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, National Institute of Corrections.
Miller, Rod, and Walter, Donald J. Detention
and Corrections Case Law Catalog. Kents Hill,
ME: CRS, Inc. (Published annually.)
Ney, Steven. 1985. Statewide attack on Florida
jails brings improvements. ACLU Prison Law
Project Journal (Spring).
Nielson, Robert. 1985. Courtroom Demeanor.
Alabama Department of Corrections Training
Academy. Training Program Materials.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections.
Palmer, John. 1991. Constitutional Rights of
Inmates, 4th ed. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson
Publishing Co.
Robbins, Ira. 1993. Prisoners Rights Sourcebook. New York, NY: Clark Boardman Co.

Periodicals
Correctional Law Reporter. Collins and Cohen.
Olympia, WA.
Detention Reporter. CRS, Inc., Kents Hill, ME.
Jail and Prison Law Bulletin. Americans for
Effective Law Enforcement. Chicago, IL.

Fisher, Margaret, O’Brien, Edward, and Austern,
David T. 1987. Practical Law for Jail and
Prison Personnel, 2d ed. St. Paul, MN: West
Publishing Company.

21

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 1

e. Medical care.
f. Recreation and exercise.

	 1.	 The doctrine of separation of powers.
g. Food services.
	 2.	 a. Executive.
h. Classification and segregation.
		 b. Judicial.
i. Discipline and due process.
		 c. Legislative.
j. Living conditions.
	 3.	 They lacked the expertise, knowledge, and
skill to determine how correctional facilities
should be managed.
	 4.	 Institutional security and discipline.

	 9.	 Title 42, Section 1983, of the Federal Civil
Rights Act of 1871.

	 5.	 Slaves of the state.

	10.	 True. (Interestingly, though, Section 1983
applies ONLY to state and local government
agents and NOT to federal agents.)

	 6.	 a. Police cases arising from the civil rights
movement.

	11.	 False. (It only applies to the Constitution
and laws of the federal government.)

b. The Attica riots, which exposed the
conditions of prisons.

	12.	 The plaintiff is the person or party bringing the suit. The defendant is the one being
sued.

	 7.	 a. 8th.
b. 1st.
c. 6th.

	13.	 False. (Section 1983 cases can be brought
in both state and federal courts. Because
federal courts are perceived to be more
sensitive to inmates’ rights, plaintiffs usually
sue in federal court.)

d. 14th.
e. 1st.
	 8.	 a. Staffing.
b. Access to courts, media, printed matter,
counsel, telephone, and libraries.

	14.	 It allows inmates to initiate civil suits for
alleged constitutional violations.
	15.	 a. State.
		 b. Federal.
	16.	 Federal district courts.

c. Practice of religion.
d. Visiting.

	17.	 Trial courts hear civil and criminal cases.
Appellate courts review lower court
decisions.

23

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	18.	 False. (Cases are not tried at the appellate
level. Appellate judges consider matters of
law but do not rehear the case. They are most
concerned with legal errors regarding admissibility of evidence, jury instructions, etc.)
	19.	 False. (A state case can be appealed to the
U.S. Supreme Court.)

	30.	 Delegating.
	31.	 a. Personal.
b. Official.
c. Administrative (vicarious).
	32.	 a. Punitive.

	20.	 False. (There are 13 circuit courts and 94
districts. Circuit courts are appellate courts
and district courts are trial courts.)

b. Compensatory.
c. Nominal.

	21.	 a. Small claims.
	33.	 An injunction.
		 b. Landlord/tenant.
	34.	 Litigation.
		 c. Domestic relations.
	35.	 c, f, a, e, b, g, d.
		 d. Civil.
		 e. Criminal.

	36.	 Within the scope of the inspector’s authority; without malice, fraud, or corruption.

	22. True.

	37.	 All four statements are true.

	23.	 Case law.

	38.	 a. Deposition.

	24.	 Written.

b. Deposition.

	25.	 Law books or reporters are used by lawyers
to research case law either in preparing
cases they are litigating or in developing the
basis for an appeal.

c. Document production.

	26.	 True.
	27.	 All five statements are true.

d. Interrogatories.
	39.	 False. (The litigation process is almost
always lengthy. If the attorney’s caseload is
large or if there are delays in litigation, the
inspector may not hear from the attorney for
long periods of time.)

	28.	 Codes and regulations.
	29.	 Administrative rules and regulations.

	40.	 False. (Answer only the questions the attorneys ask you.)
	41.	 Female staff supervising male inmates and
male staff supervising female inmates.

24

CHAPTER 1: Legal Issues

	42.	 Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC).

	52.	 Color of law.
	53.	 True.

	43.	 False. (Cross-gender supervision is an emotional issue and has not been universally
greeted with open arms. Inmates have sued
over privacy issues. Male officers have sued
over issues related to their personal safety,
on the assumption that women would not
be able to support them in the event of a
disturbance. Women have sued for equal
employment opportunities and chances of
advancement afforded by being able to work
in all areas of the jail.)

	54.	 Consent decree.
	55.	 a. Inspect each jail twice per year.
b. “Vigorously, promptly, effectively and
thoroughly” enforce the jail standards
by suing noncomplying counties. (Such
action was to be taken within 7 days in
situations that appeared “to pose a substantial and immediate danger to life,
health or safety.”)

	44.	 a. Training.
		 b. Supervision.
	45.	 False. (Most states have enacted laws criminalizing sexual relations between staff and
inmates and recognizing that such relations
cannot be consensual.)
	46.	 Acceptable beginning; before a lawsuit is
filed.

c. Upgrade standards regarding space, medical screening, sick call, comprehensive
medical care, compliance with fire and
health codes, and inmate classification.
	56.	 a. The inspection process was inadequate
to detect and record violations of TJC
standards.
b. TJC did not adequately enforce its
standards.

	47.	 True.
	48.	 True.
	49.	 False. (Unsafe conditions should be
addressed immediately.)
	50.	 a. Detailed list of violations.
b. Remedies to address each violation.

c. TJC granted numerous variances to
counties regarding fire safety, space for
mentally ill inmates, outdoor exercise,
and dayroom space.
d. The jail standards themselves were vague
and inadequate in areas such as construction, interior design and furnishings,
safety, crowding, staffing and supervision,
staff training, health care, and exercise.

c. A realistic timetable for addressing each
violation—with the most serious violations addressed first.
	51.	 True.

25

ChapTer 2

Standards

Chapter 2: Standards
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:	
	 1.	 Explain the basis of correctional standards in law. (See section 2–1.)
	 2. 	Define the terms “certification,” “accreditation,” “insurability,” and “risk management,” and
explain how standards compliance relates to each. (See section 2–2.)
	 3.	 Identify the types of standards issued by state and national agencies and explain how they
apply to jails. (See section 2–3.)
	 4.	 Distinguish between and define the following terms: “statute” and “administrative rules”;
“mandatory standards” and “voluntary standards”; “waivers,” “variances,” and “grandfathering”; and “minimum standards” and “constitutional minima.” (See section 2–4.)
	 5.	 Distinguish between standards that address physical plant, operational, and administrative
issues and those that address life, health, safety, and constitutional issues. (See section 2–5.)
	 6.	 Describe similarities and differences between standards for lockups, jails, prisons, and
community correctional facilities. (See section 2–6.)
	 7.	 Describe the role of the inspector in issuing interpretations, clarifications, and opinions.
(See section 2–7.)

Chapter 2: Standards

Since 1870, when the American Prison Association first promulgated standards, the corrections
profession has evolved into a complex network
of federal, state, and local systems. These systems include parole, probation, jails, community
corrections, prisons, and adult and juvenile services. Further contributing to this complexity
are emerging problems such as crowding in jails
and prisons. Add to this the involvement of state
and federal courts as well as the requirement to
operate constitutional jails and prisons, and the
picture becomes clear: Corrections is a dynamic
system that is often under stress.
Chapter 1 discussed how the courts became
involved in correctional matters during the
mid-1960s, creating varied and sometimes conflicting case law. In light of the confusion that
ensued, corrections professionals saw the need
to develop credible standards, and several bodies of correctional standards emerged at both the
state and national levels.
Chapter 2 takes an indepth look at correctional
standards, including their basis in law and the
purposes they serve. The chapter also describes
the various types of standards the jail inspector
will encounter, as well as the various methods
states use to implement their standards programs.

Section 2–1. Standards and Their
Basis in Law

have the full force and effect of law. In some
states, standards that are authorized by law are
voluntary; however, even such standards have a
legal impact, as they are an expression of community expectations.
In other states, correctional standards are not
authorized by law but are developed through
a cooperative effort involving professional
organizations such as the state sheriffs’ association. Although there is no legal basis for such
standards, a court may still consider them in
deciding a corrections-related lawsuit, because
the practices they require are an expression of
professional practitioners.
Finally, correctional standards have a basis in
law to the extent that they reflect constitutional
issues consistent with court decisions. This is
true of both voluntary and mandatory standards.

Q&AReview Question for Section 2–1
	 1.	 In deciding a lawsuit, a court will not take
into consideration standards developed by
professional organizations because these
standards have no legal basis in law.
_____ True _____ False

Correctional standards that are authorized by
state law clearly have a legal basis and generally

29

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Section 2–2. Standards Terminology
Certification and Accreditation
Some state jail inspection programs have
certification authority. Certification is a legal
recognition of an agency’s compliance with
standards, and it is a process that is required
by statute or state regulation. Certification can
result from either total or substantial compliance
with standards. Agencies are generally given
a period of time to meet certification requirements. If an agency is not certified, that means
it does not comply with standards and must take
some type of corrective action. If such action is
not forthcoming, the certifying authority may
take enforcement action against the county. The
enforcement could include petitioning the courts
for compliance, compelling the county commissioners to take corrective action, fining the
county, ordering cessation of certain activities in
that facility, or even forcing closure.
Some state inspection agencies do not have
certification authority, either because compliance with standards is voluntary or because the
agency’s enabling legislation does not provide
for certification. Such programs may recognize
voluntary compliance by issuing some type of
formalized recognition of achievement.
Accreditation is a formal process developed
and administered by a professional organization.
Accreditation is granted when a jail is in full or
substantial compliance with the organization’s
standards, as verified by some type of inspection and/or audit. The accreditation process for
correctional agencies is much the same as the
process introduced earlier for hospitals and colleges. The Commission on Accreditation for
Corrections of the American Correctional
Association (ACA) is the most recognized
accrediting agency for adult and juvenile correctional agencies. The National Commission on
Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) accredits

30

medical programs in jails and prisons. Some
states have a voluntary accreditation program
that is separate from the state’s authority to
inspect jails.
Whereas certification carries a legal requirement when it is mandated either by statute or
by administrative regulations or rules, accreditation does not. Accreditation can become a
legal requirement, however, if it is a stipulation
agreed to in a consent decree negotiated by
the parties to a lawsuit. Both certification and
accreditation may be useful in demonstrating a
jail’s good-faith efforts in a civil rights lawsuit,
as both recognize compliance with standards by
an outside authority.

Insurability and Risk Management
Insurability relates to an insurance company’s
willingness to provide insurance to a correctional agency or its employees. Sometimes
insurance companies look to state or national
standards in assessing an agency’s insurability
and may also ask to see jail inspection reports—
practices that may become more common as the
insurance industry becomes more aware of the
importance of standards and how adherence to
them can reduce the potential for liability.
Risk management and liability prevention are
terms that derive from litigation. Liability comes
from being found negligent in meeting one’s
duty to another. For example, a sheriff who
does not protect the rights of a jail inmate may
be found liable. Risk management or liability
prevention includes actions taken by a jail to
minimize staff liability, such as developing written policies and procedures adequate to meet
standards and operate the jail in a constitutionally correct manner. Staff can limit liability
by ensuring that policies and procedures are
enforced, internal inspections are accomplished,
deficient equipment is repaired, etc.

CHAPTER 2: Standards

Q&AReview Questions for Section 2–2
	 2.	 _________________________ is a legal

b. Accredits adult and juvenile correctional
agencies: _ _________________________
	 7.	 Accreditation may be an essential element

recognition of a jail’s compliance with state

in a consent decree and thus become a legal

standards.

requirement enforceable through the courts.
_____ True _____ False

	 3.	 Which of the following actions may not
result from a finding of noncompliance with

	 8.	 Terms that describe an agency’s attempt

state standards?

to prevent successful litigation are

a. Imposition of fines.

	

b. Closure.

		 and______________________________

_____________________________________________

c. Granting of certification.
d. Compelling a county commissioner to
correct deficiencies.

	 9.	 Risk management is a notion that arises out
of an insurance company’s willingness to
provide insurance for a correctional facility.

	 4.	 Accreditation is the process used in some

_____ True _____ False

states to recognize an agency’s voluntary
compliance with state standards.
_____ True _____ False

	10.	 “Insurability” is a term related to a state’s
authority to grant certification.
_____ True _____ False

	 5.	 The accreditation of hospitals and colleges
provided a model for accreditation of correctional facilities.
_____ True _____ False

Section 2–3. Standards Defined
To distinguish between types of standards, it is
first necessary to define the term “standard”
in a corrections context:

	 6.	 Match these agencies with the functions
that follow:
Commission on Accreditation for
Corrections.
National Commission on Correctional
Health Care.
a. Accredits jail and prison medical

A correctional standard is a specific, objective, measurable, and directive statement
identifying a requirement, level of performance, or expectation about an individual
correctional operation or aspect of the physical plant.
Consider whether the following example meets
the requirements of the definition:

programs: __________________________

31

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

The managing official shall ensure that
written policy and procedure requires
monthly recorded sanitation inspections
of all housing areas.
The example does meet the requirement
because:
l	

It is specific to one topic: sanitation of all
housing areas.

l	

It is objective—that is, the language is clear
enough that it can be understood by most
who read it.

l	

It is measurable, as it requires written
policy and procedure and recorded monthly
inspections of all housing areas.

Standards are not “liberal” or “conservative.”
They generally do not express values, but
rather relate to activities that are essential for
providing a safe environment for jail staff and
inmates. Standards also refer to basic constitutional issues such as access to courts, access to
medical care, etc. Additionally, when jail staff
integrate the standards as a central part of the
operation, the standards become a part of the
management structure of the jail and ensure
accountability.

l	

It is directive, in that it requires action by
the managing official.

So, then, what are characteristics of standards?
Standards are:

Standards regarding a correctional operation, such as security checks, use of force, or
discipline, usually require written policy and
procedure to demonstrate implementation and
written documentation to demonstrate compliance. Such standards are often referred to as
performance standards, as they require a level
of “performance” or activity on the part of the
correctional staff. Performance standards require
certain behaviors or actions in a jail operation
that can be documented.
Physical plant standards relate to the physical structure of the facility and living conditions such as space, ventilation, lighting, and
life safety. These standards are also essential in
renovating an existing facility or planning a new
one, as they can provide guidance to planners
and architects.

32

Prescriptive standards usually dictate the “how
to” of a particular operation. Examples include
standards that require the inclusion of certain
information in a booking or screening form, a
set number of toilets per inmates, or specific
steps in a disciplinary procedure.

l	

Often a legal requirement.

l	

A management tool to direct staff.

l	

A proactive approach to preventing lawsuits
and minimizing the likelihood of successful
suits.

l	

An outline for formulating training
programs.

l	

A means of demonstrating accountability
to the public.

l	

A means of measuring accomplishments.

l	

A way to make the criminal justice system
more fair and humane.

CHAPTER 2: Standards

Q&AReview Questions for Section 2–3
	11.	 Correctional standards may refer to either
physical plant or operational issues.

Section 2–4. Understanding How
Standards Work
Earlier in this chapter, we briefly considered
the legal basis of standards. This section takes a
closer look at that topic.

_____ True _____ False

Statutes and Administrative Rules
	12.	 To be effective, correctional standards
should be objective, measurable, specific,
and directive.
_____ True _____ False
	13.	 Correctional standards are rarely a legal
requirement.
_____ True _____ False
	14.	 Compliance with correctional standards is
a means of demonstrating accountability
to the public AND a means of measuring
accomplishments.
_____ True _____ False
	15.	 Which of the following statements refer to
prescriptive standards?
a.	Usually dictate the specifics or “how to”
of an operation.
b.	Require a certain level of activity on the
part of correctional personnel.
c.	May require a set ratio of inmates to
sinks, toilets, or showers.
d.	May require certain documentable actions
in a jail.
	16.	 Standards that are essential for the planning and design of a new facility are called
_________________________ standards.

State standards that are mandatory carry the
weight of law. The authority for mandating
standards may be included in the inspection
agency’s enabling statute (law), or the state
may mandate standards through the development of administrative rules and regulations.
In some states, standards are listed in the statute.
In others, the legislature delegates the standardmaking authority to an administrative law
agency. This agency may be an independent
board, a commission, or some other office in
state government, such as the commissioner of
corrections, the attorney general, or the health
department. When standard-making authority is
delegated, there is generally some form of legislative oversight to ensure that the administrative
law agency does not go beyond its authority
or beyond the intent of the legislature when it
passed the statute. That is why most states have
a period for public comment on standards before
they are enacted. Additionally, most states have
a legislative review committee that must pass on
standards before they become effective. Once
the standards pass this review, they are enacted
and have the full force and effect of law.

Mandatory and Voluntary Standards
Mandatory standards may be required by statute, administrative rules, or regulations. The
term “mandatory” means that the jail must meet
the standard or face some form of sanction,
such as court action, denial of state construction
or renovation funds, or even closure.

33

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Voluntary standards do not necessarily have the
full effect of law. However, voluntary standards
can take on a legal meaning if they become a
basis for a consent decree or when they address
constitutional issues.
States have taken a variety of approaches to
implementing voluntary jail standards:
l	

Some states have standards that are
authorized by law but are voluntary. Such
standards have a legal impact, however,
as they are an expression of community
expectations.

l	

Other states issue voluntary standards
through an organization such as the state
sheriffs’ association, jail association, association of counties, or attorney general’s
office. In these states, inspections are conducted by staff of the sponsoring agency
and/or by officials from jails other than the
one being inspected.

l	

Finally, some states have instituted a voluntary accreditation process through either the
state jail inspection authority or the sheriffs’
association.

Standards issued by professional organizations
in and of themselves do not carry the weight of
law. For example, standards of the ACA and the
NCCHC are voluntary.

Waivers, Variances, and Grandfathering
Under certain conditions, compliance with a
mandated standard may not be required. The
concepts of waiver, variance, and grandfathering
are related, but the distinctions are important.
A waiver implies the existence of some authority (such as a standards commission or board)
that can allow a jail to forego application of a
standard. For example, if a standard requires

34

certain food preparation requirements and the
jail contracts out its food services, then the
standard would be waived (or simply found
nonapplicable).
A variance means that the jail may meet the
intent of the standard but not in a generally
accepted way. In this case, the jail would
apply for a variance, which means that it will
meet the standard’s intent but in a method that
“varies” from the norm. For example, if a standard requires 1 shower for every 10 inmates and
the jail only has 1 shower for every 15 inmates,
the jail may request a variance. The request
may include procedures giving inmates access
to showers 16 hours per day. Obviously, the
intent of the standard is for inmates to be able
to shower frequently. The jail is finding another
way to do that by providing for frequency of
access to the showers it has; it may, therefore,
be granted a variance.
Grandfathering means that a standard may not
apply retroactively to a facility, such as when
a state updates its physical plant standards but
does not require an existing facility to meet the
new standards. However, not all physical plant
standards are typically “grandfathered.” This is
especially true when matters of life and safety
are concerned.

Minimum Standards and Constitutional Minima
The jail inspector will often encounter the
term “minimum standards,” which refers to
administrative rules and regulations that are a
minimum requirement for operating a safe and
secure jail. Most mandatory state jail standards
are minimum standards. Implicit in this term
is the idea that areas of a jail’s operation or
physical plant may not be included in the state’s
minimum standards. The ACA and NCCHC
standards are good references for those other
areas.

CHAPTER 2: Standards

Another common term is “constitutional
minima,” which generally refers to the minimum requirements of care and custody required
by the U.S. Constitution. It covers those issues
clearly articulated by the courts and addressed
in chapter 1, Legal Issues. Constitutional
minima have been the basis for the development
of correctional standards, including professional
standards and minimum standards promulgated
by states. They address issues such as due process, access to health care, searches, access to
the courts, mail, religion, etc.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 2–4
	17.	 Standards carry the “weight of law” in all of
the following except:

b. Under this concept, new standards may
not be applicable to existing facilities:
__________________________________
c. With this, a state foregoes application of a
standard to an existing facility:
__________________________________
d. This allows a jail to use an alternative
method to meet the intent of the standard:
__________________________________
e. A jail must comply with these:
__________________________________
	20.	 “Constitutional minima” refers to minimum

a.	If agreed to in a consent decree.

requirements of care and custody that have

b.	If required by a court order.

been articulated by the__________________

c.	In a voluntary state inspection program.
d.	When mandated as a state’s administrative rules and regulations.

	21. 	“Minimum standards” refers to a state’s
minimum requirements of jail operations as
specified in administrative_______________

	18.	 When a state board or commission has

and_ ________________________________

standard-making authority, that authority is
____________________________________
by the legislature.
	19.	 Match these terms with the descriptions
that follow:
Mandatory standards.
Voluntary standards.
Grandfathering.
Variance.
Waiver.
a. These generally do not have the full effect
of law: ____________________________

Section 2–5. Categories of Standards
Physical Plant, Operational, and Administrative
Standards
Earlier in this chapter, we saw how jail standards
may be classified as performance, physical
plant, or prescriptive, according to the kinds of
requirements they impose. This section outlines
a slightly different way of thinking about the
types of standards the jail inspector encounters
most often: three classifications based on the
kinds of issues addressed.
Physical plant standards concern the jail building, grounds, and built-in (capital) equipment.

35

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

They address issues such as square footage; fire
safety and health regulation requirements; and
areas for exercise, housing, visiting, food services, medical care, intake, storage, and mechanical
equipment. They also address building codes or
ordinances that exist through another authority,
such as the fire marshal, health department, or
various local and state government agencies.

Administrative standards refer to all other
areas that support the smooth functioning of the
jail. Many states do not stress administrative
standards such as fiscal controls and personnel
practices, but the national standards are quite
thorough in this regard.

Application of physical plant standards to individual facilities generally depends on the effective date of the standard. If a facility was built
or renovated before the effective date, usually
the standard will not apply (see earlier discussion of “grandfathering”). However, if matters
of life, health, and safety are involved, physical
plant standards may be applied retroactively to
an existing facility. A typical case to illustrate
this point is the requirement for a second means
of egress from housing units. Many older jails
were built without a second means of egress, but
after several disastrous fires with loss of life, the
standard has been applied to new AND existing
facilities.

Life, health, safety, and constitutional
standards address constitutional minima, discussed earlier in this chapter. These types of
standards are the bedrock of most state inspection and compliance programs and are basic to
inmate constitutional rights articulated by the
courts over the years. These standards relate to
basic health, sanitation, and safety issues such
as fire prevention and control.

Operational standards concern the methods
by which the correctional facility is operated.
They address issues such as internal safety and
sanitation inspections, use of force, security and
control, food services, visiting, medical care,
exercise, etc. Generally, these standards require
the jail to establish written policies and procedures to implement the standard; to train staff
about the policies and procedures; and, through
supervision and documentation, to ensure that
the standards are in effect.
Physical plant standards and operational
standards can address the same subject. For
example, requiring facilities to have a backup
generator for power outages is a physical plant
standard, whereas requiring facilities to test the
generator monthly is an operational standard.

36

Life, Health, Safety, and Constitutional Standards

In addition to these basic standards, states may
promulgate other standards that address what
are referred to as “accepted correctional
practices.” Although such standards may not
be critical to life and safety and may not be the
subject of a Supreme Court ruling, the corrections profession over the years has accepted the
practices as essential to good operations. An
example of a standard based on accepted correctional practices is the use of volunteers. Many
correctional programs use volunteers effectively.
A related standard may address the recruitment,
selection, and training of volunteers.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 2–5
	22.	 Identify the following statements as referring to physical plant, operational, or
administrative standards:
a. Square footage of cells:
__________________________________

CHAPTER 2: Standards

b. Testing fire alarms:
__________________________________
c. Second means of egress from housing
units:______________________________
d. Reviewing inmate commissary accounts: 	
__________________________________
e. Availability of outdoor exercise area:
__________________________________
f. Unannounced and irregularly scheduled
searches:___________________________
g. Number of toilets and sinks:
__________________________________
h. Fire drills: _________________________
	23.	 The term “accepted correctional practice”
refers to essentials of jail operations as
required by the courts.
_____ True _____ False
	24.	 The phrase “life, health, safety, and constitutional issues” concerns constitutional
minima.
_____ True _____ False

Section 2–6. Lockup, Jail, Prison, and
Community Correctional Standards

Lockups are short-term facilities generally
operated by police departments for periods ranging from 4–8 hours up to 72 hours. Because of
the short-term nature of lockups, their standards
are generally less comprehensive than those for
jails. Litigation involving lockups is increasing,
especially in relation to suicide and other safety
concerns. This is because a person’s right to
access to health care, for example, is no different in a lockup than it is in a full-service jail.
As for jail standards, several states differentiate between jails based on length of maximum
detention or size. These states typically have a
rating system such as Class 1 for jails with more
than 50 inmates and Class 2 for jails with 50 or
fewer inmates, or they may classify facilities as
full-service jails or lockups.
Recognizing that small jails differ substantially
from large jails, the ACA has promulgated
standards for small jails. However, these standards are not used in assessing accreditation.
Prison standards differ from jail standards
because of functional differences between the
two types of facilities. These differences relate
to the long-term nature of prison confinement,
the availability of treatment programs, the fact
that convicted inmates have fewer rights than
pretrial inmates, and the fact that most prisons
are larger than jails.
Community correctional standards also differ
from the other standards because of functional
differences. Here, the differences relate to the
extent and relatively short-term duration of
confinement and to the nature of dealings with
the community.

The applicability of state standards to lockups,
jails, prisons, and community correctional centers depends on the statute in each state. A statute may apply to all, some, or only one.

37

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Q&AReview Questions for Section 2–6
	25.	 Often, states will have varying standards
dependent on jail size and maximum length
of confinement.
_____ True _____ False
	26.	 The ACA’s small jail standards apply to
police lockup operations as well as small
jails.
_____ True _____ False

Section 2–7. Interpretations, Clarifications,
and Opinions
Often, the inspector is asked to interpret a standard when questions arise regarding its intent.
It is important to note that every standard should
be written clearly; if too many questions come
up about a standard’s intent, that may mean it is
not written clearly. However, even when a standard is clear, there may be questions about how
it is to be implemented.
The ACA and some states provide guidance by
including a discussion or commentary next to
or below each standard. The discussion is an
explanation of the standard’s intent and may
include methods for meeting the standard.
Even though these discussions may be helpful,
the inspector still may be asked to describe the
acceptable method of meeting a standard. In this
instance, the inspector may provide technical
assistance. The advice given should be clear,
and it should be consistent with advice given to
other jails and with advice other inspectors have
given. Most importantly, inspectors should never
exceed their authority in giving advice. If unsure
about that authority or about what advice to
give, they should consult a superior.

38

It is also important to remember that the discussion or commentary that accompanies a standard is simply an explanation of the standard’s
intent—it is NOT part of the standard. In more
than one instance, jail inspectors (and even
inspection agencies) have expanded a standard,
without authority, by insisting that the discussion
or commentary is part of the standard. When
this happens, inspectors lose credibility among
jail managers; if appeals are made, the inspector
involved is likely to be countermanded.
A more formalized process for interpreting
standards involves opinions. This is a formal
and legal term. If the inspection agency has
the authority to issue opinions, such authority
is generally included in the enabling legislation. If the agency is responsible to a board
or commission, then that body is usually the
authority that issues opinions. An opinion may
be requested by a jail official if a jail appeals a
finding of noncompliance. The resulting opinion
will become a matter of record and will guide
inspectors and jail administrators in future applications of the standard.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 2–7
	27.	 Formal and legal interpretation of standards
are known as _________________________
	28.	 Inspectors are expected to offer opinions in
the course of their duties.
_____ True _____ False

Conclusion
This chapter has examined the legal basis of
standards, including the difference between
voluntary and mandatory standards. It has also
looked at the purposes standards serve, the
various types of standards the jail inspector will

CHAPTER 2: Standards

encounter, and the various methods states use to
implement their standards programs.
There are a variety of standards and inspection
programs across the country, and what works
for one state may not work for another. Clearly,
however, a state inspection program can assist
in upgrading jails. Building on what you have
learned in this chapter as you work through the
rest of this manual, you will see the complexity of the jail inspector’s job: You have a role
not only in inspecting jails but also in providing
technical assistance and being a resource to the
jails you inspect.

39

CHAPTER 2: Standards

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 2

	15.	 a and c. (Statements b and d refer to performance standards.)

	 1.	 False. (The court may consider such standards because the practices they require are
an expression of professional practitioners.)

	16.	 Physical plant standards.

	 2.	 Certification.

	17.	 c. (However, voluntary standards can take
on legal meaning if they become a basis for
a consent decree or address constitutional
issues.)

	 3.	 c.
	18.	 Delegated.
	 4.	 False. (Accreditation refers to recognition
by a professional organization and is normally granted by that organization.)

	19.	 a. Voluntary standards.
b. Grandfathering.

	 5.	 True.
c. Waiver.
	 6.	 a. National Commission on Correctional
Health Care.
b. Commission on Accreditation for
Corrections.

d. Variance.
e. Mandatory standards.
	20.	 U.S. Constitution.

	 7.	 True.
	21.	 Rules and regulations.
	 8.	 Risk management and liability prevention.
	22.	 a. Physical plant.
	 9.	 False. (Term relates to actions taken by a
jail to minimize staff liability.)

b. Operational.

	10.	 False. (Term relates to an insurance company’s willingness to provide insurance to a
correctional facility.)

c. Physical plant.

	11.	 True.

e. Physical plant.

	12.	 True.

f. Operational.

	13.	 False. (Standards are often legal requirements, as they reflect constitutional issues
addressed in case law. Further, the standards
may be mandated by state law.)

g. Physical plant.

	14.	 True.

d. Administrative.

h. Operational.
	23.	 False. (These are identified by the
profession.)

41

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	24.	 True.
	25.	 True.
	26.	 False. (These apply only to jails with 50 or
fewer inmates.)
	27.	 Opinions.
	28.	 False. (If the inspection agency has the
authority to issue opinions, they are issued
by an authority higher than the inspector.)

42

ChapTer 3

The Inspection Process

Chapter 3: The Inspection Process
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:
	 1.	 List at least four purposes for inspections. (See section 3–1.)
	 2.	 Describe seven types of inspections and identify why each is used. (See section 3–2.)
	 3.	 Explain the importance of documentation in demonstrating compliance and list at least six
types of documentation used for inspections. (See section 3–3.)
	 4.	 Identify the essential elements of the inspection process, including pre- and post-inspection
activities as well as the facility inspection. (See section 3–4.)
	 5.	 Explain the importance of data collection. (See section 3–5.)

Chapter 3: T he Inspection Process

The heart of any standards program is the
inspection process. Having a solid set of standards is necessary to establish performance
requirements for jails, but it is the inspection
process that makes the standards come alive.
What is commonly referred to as the inspection process is really a continuum of activities
designed to determine or assess compliance
(or noncompliance) over time.
One element of this process is the actual onsite
inspection of the physical plant and the operations of the facility. Another is the audit of the
facility’s documentation to verify compliance
with the standards on an ongoing basis. In this
manual, “inspection process” incorporates the
continuum of activities that includes inspecting
and auditing, documenting, reporting, and
reinspecting.
The jail’s documentation is an essential part of
the inspection process. Primary documentation
includes items such as written policies and procedures as well as inspection reports of other
agencies (e.g., fire and health departments).
Secondary documentation (e.g., work orders and
incident reports) provides verification that the
policies and procedures are being implemented.
The inspection process is not something that
starts and ends the day an inspection is conducted. The process requires preparing for the
inspection, conducting the inspection, conducting an exit interview, issuing a report, and developing some form of compliance-monitoring

system to ensure that deficiencies are corrected
over time. It may also require coordination
with other inspection agencies that enforce fire,
health, and building codes. The major goal of
the inspection process is to ensure that the jail
operates routinely in compliance with standards.
This chapter addresses most aspects of the inspection process. (Not every aspect may apply to
your state.) It covers the reasons for inspections:
namely, to identify deficiencies and work toward
their solution. It also discusses the purposes and
types of inspections, the importance of documentation, elements of the inspection process,
and the need for data collection.

Section 3–1. Purposes of an Inspection
There are many reasons for a jail inspection.
Ultimately, inspections are conducted because
there is a governmental interest in providing
for both the safe confinement of inmates and
the protection of the public and staff. Inspections are intended to assess compliance or
noncompliance with standards. Once that is
done and accomplishments or deficiencies are
listed, subsequent inspections can demonstrate
a jail’s movement toward full compliance or its
continuation of compliance.
When deficiencies are noted, a compliance
plan should be developed. This allows the jail
to approach deficiencies systematically and
meet standards over a period of time. When the
inspection process identifies deficiencies,

45

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

it allows the jail to highlight the need for
corrective action. For example, an inspection might identify life-safety or health code
deficiencies (and the subsequent need to fund
capital improvements), or it may reveal staffing
inadequacies.
On a positive note, the inspection can demonstrate substantial compliance with standards and
can be an objective way to recognize a jail’s
professionalism. Achieving substantial compliance with standards is no small task, especially
if the standards and inspection processes are
exacting. Substantial compliance demonstrates
that staff is committed to compliance. Anyone
familiar with lawsuits recognizes that compliance with standards is proof of the jail’s good
faith effort, whereas noncompliance may indicate that the jail is negligent.
It is important to remember that in addition to
inspections conducted by the jail inspection
authority and other outside agencies, jail personnel should conduct regular internal audits
or inspections to ensure continued compliance
with standards. Examples of internal inspections
include:
l	

Weekly checks of fire systems.

l	

Daily or weekly sanitation inspections. 	

l	

Periodic reviews of shift logs to ensure that
routine functions are being accomplished.

l	

Periodic inventories of supplies and
equipment.

Internal inspections generate records that will
serve as documentation for a formal state
inspection.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 3–1
	 1.	 The term “governmental interest” means
that jails need to develop a compliance plan
to demonstrate good faith.
_____ True _____ False
	 2.	 A _____________________________ is an
instrument that allows the jail to approach
deficiencies systematically and resolve them
over a period of time.
	 3.	 Deficiencies noted in an inspection allow
the jail to emphasize where corrective action
is necessary.
_____ True _____ False
	 4.	 An inspection demonstrating substantial
compliance with standards is recognition of
a jail’s_______________________________
	 5.	 _________________________ refers to a
jail’s intent to meet its constitutional responsibilities to inmates.
	 6.	 Inspections conducted by jail staff that can
help to demonstrate compliance with stan-

46

l	

Routine testing of emergency equipment.

l	

Continual reviews of incident reports.

l	

Reviews of mandated training.

dards are called________________________

CHAPTER 3: The Inspection Process

Section 3–2. Types of Inspections
Of the various types of jail inspections, the most
common are physical plant, operational, and
management. Together, these three types of
inspections can provide a clear picture of the
jail’s operation on a given day and over time.
Although each type of inspection may be done
separately, the inspector will often complete all
of them at once.
Inspectors may conduct partial or complete
inspections and may also investigate inmate
complaints and grievances. On occasion, they
may conduct financial reviews.

Physical Plant Inspection
A physical plant inspection examines the facility in its entirety. This includes all buildings
and grounds, as well as capital equipment (i.e.,
fixed equipment—e.g., generators, audiovideo
communications systems, fire systems). It also
covers environmental issues such as quality of
air, light, water, and sewage treatment. This type
of inspection is crucial to meeting standards,
because much of the physical plant concerns
issues of life, health, and safety that are the core
of correctional standards. The depth of the physical plant inspection will depend on your state’s
standards and the extent to which they address
physical plant issues.
Fire safety and health standards, which are common to most states, may be issued by noncorrectional authorities such as the fire marshal and
health department. Regardless of the source of
these standards, the issues they address clearly
are critical to the safety and well-being of jail
staff, inmates, and visitors. Sanitation, fire, and
building codes are other examples of “noncorrectional” physical plant standards that apply
to jails.

When a noncorrectional agency issues standards that apply to jails, that agency usually is
responsible for related inspections. However, it
may not routinely conduct inspections or may
assume that the jail inspector is inspecting in the
area the standards cover. If this occurs in your
state, consider working with these agencies to
(1) ensure that they conduct their inspections
and (2) possibly coordinate schedules and share
results.
The jail inspector’s physical plant inspection
will, of course, address compliance with standards that address purely correctional matters.
These may include:
l	

Cleanliness inspection of the housing area,
common areas, and food preparation area.

l	

Inspection of fire extinguisher tags, airpack
tags, emergency evacuation routes, locking
mechanisms, control centers, and emergency
lighting fixtures.

l	

Inspection of conditions of confinement
(cells, showers, laundry, etc.).

l	

Discussions with staff and inmates as to the
general conditions and operations of the
facility.

l	

Examination of logs and reports.

l	

Observation of the jail as it functions on
a typical day.

Operational and Management Inspections
An operational inspection examines aspects of
facility operations such as security, intake and
release, medical care, food services, visitation
(personal and professional), mail, discipline,
classification, etc. It includes an exhaustive

47

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

review of policies and procedures and other
documentation related to facility operation.
A management inspection relates to jail management’s responsibility to direct, supervise, and
train staff. It is a detailed, exhaustive review that
may address issues such as adequacy of policies, procedures, and post orders; methods by
which they are written and distributed; and their
accessibility to staff. It also examines documentation showing that the written policies and procedures have been instituted and are an ongoing
part of the operation. A management inspection
may assess staff training; in states with mandatory training, the inspector may coordinate
with the state training authority to ensure that
requirements are met. Generally, the management inspection occurs at the jail; in some states,
however, the jail inspector may review policies,
procedures, and post orders prior to going onsite.

Other Categories of Inspections
A complete inspection means that the facility is
inspected and audited according to all applicable
standards. A partial inspection addresses only
selected standards. There are several reasons for
conducting partial inspections. The inspection
agency may conduct a partial inspection if it
does not have the time or staff to do a complete
inspection. If a jail has been in noncompliance
with a particular standard, a partial inspection
may be used to assess its current compliance. If
a jail requests technical assistance in a particular area, the process may begin with a partial
inspection focusing on that area.
The inspector may be called on to investigate
inmates’ complaints or grievances. If the complaint or grievance is referred to the inspection
agency by a judge or the Governor, inspectors
must respond within the limits of their authority.
An inspector who learns of a complaint or griev-

48

ance has a responsibility to report it and either
attempt to settle it or refer it to an appropriate
authority.
Inspectors rarely conduct financial audits,
primarily because such audits do not concern
a specifically “correctional” function, but also
because inspectors generally are not qualified in
this area. Financial audits are usually conducted
by the jail’s parent agency; sometimes, a state
oversight agency performs this function. If the
state standards address commissary accounts
or inmate funds, or if a jail has a work release
program, the inspector may need to review the
related procedures or accounts. When conducting such financial reviews, inspectors must be
aware of their own technical limitations.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 3–2
	 7.	 Match these types of inspections with the
descriptions that follow:
Physical plant.
Operational.
Management.
Complete.
Partial.
Complaints/grievances.
Financial.
a. Examines staff training:
__________________________________
b. May include a check for fire safety equipment or for a second means of egress
from a facility:
__________________________________

CHAPTER 3: The Inspection Process

c. May include an inspection of emergency
lighting fixtures:
__________________________________
d. Covers all applicable standards:
__________________________________
e. Includes discussions with jail staff and
inmates as to the general conditions of
the facility:
__________________________________
f. Examines facility practices in areas such
as intake, visiting, etc.:
__________________________________
g. Involves a detailed, exhaustive review of
agency documentation:
__________________________________
h. May include a review in preparation for
the onsite inspection:
__________________________________
i. May be necessitated by a request for technical assistance:
__________________________________

Section 3–3. Documentation
A noted expert in the field of correctional
liability often said that the three most important things to do to prevent a successful lawsuit
were to document, document, and document.
Corrections managers once had a rather free rein
with their facilities and programs and typically
had few written policies and procedures, post
orders, or directives. When lawsuits arose, they

were unable to prove their practices were constitutional. The result was a string of losing cases,
leading to the case law that governs corrections
today.
The lesson learned from these cases was clear:
If correctional administrators did not have written policies and procedures and could not demonstrate that these policies and procedures were
in practice, they would increasingly be subject
to successful liability lawsuits. To remedy this,
administrators began to develop the necessary
documentation to direct and train staff in their
duties, to prove this was being done, and to
demonstrate compliance with standards. Today,
most state standards—and certainly all national
standards—require written policies and procedures. Also, most state inspection agencies
require supporting documentation to prove that
the standards are being implemented.
What, then, is meant by “documentation”?
Documentation is generally categorized as
primary and secondary. Although there are
no legal definitions of these terms, inspectors
should be familiar with the distinctions between
the two.
Primary documentation refers to documents
of a higher order. These may include written
policies and procedures, post orders, emergency
plans, directives, and fire and health inspection
reports. 	
Secondary documentation verifies that policies and procedures are being implemented.
Secondary documentation may include items
such as reports of weekly sanitation and fire
inspections, work orders, incident reports, logs,
correspondence, sanitation and pest control
contracts, 30-day menus, training records, etc.
Although many jails offer documentation, it is
important for the inspector to ensure that the

49

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

documentation is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with a standard. Questions to consider
regarding the quality of documentation include:

c. Incident reports:_____________________

l	

If the jail offers a written policy and procedure document, does it fully meet the
requirement of the standard?

f. Work orders:________________________

l	

Are logs written or filled out consistently
and completely?

i. Logs:______________________________

l	

If weekly sanitation reports are required,
does the documentation offered indicate that
these reports have been completed weekly
since the last inspection?

d. Emergency plans:____________________
e. Fire inspection reports:________________
g. Menus:____________________________
h. Directives:_ ________________________

	10.	 Documentation may be adequate if it shows

l	

l	

and completely accomplished.
_____ True _____ False

If a monthly check of fire extinguishers is
required, does the documentation offered
indicate that the checks are complete and
being done monthly?

	11.	 A verbal assurance is sufficient to prove

Are all documents signed and dated?

Section 3–4. Elements of the Inspection
Process

The point is that it is not good enough to trust
verbal assurances. The inspector is duty bound
to verify compliance with standards on a continuing basis, and the basis of that proof is
documentation.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 3–3
	 8.	 The development of documentation in corrections was due in part to the increasing
number of lawsuits.
_____ True _____ False
	 9.	 Identify the following as primary or secondary documentation:
a. Policies and procedures:_______________
b. Post orders:_________________________

50

that the function recorded is consistently

compliance with standards.
_____ True _____ False

As we look at the elements of the inspection
process, it is important to keep in mind that each
state has its own methods of conducting inspections. There is no single prescribed method of
conducting an inspection. In fact, each inspector
may develop his or her own methods. However,
inspection authorities should strive for internal
consistency among inspectors with respect to
application and interpretation of standards. The
key to a successful inspection process is that it
be rigorous, thorough, and fair.
It would be impossible for this manual to
describe each state’s inspection methods. This
section outlines elements that may be included
in the inspection process.

CHAPTER 3: The Inspection Process

Preparation for the Inspection
Before conducting the inspection, the inspector must prepare for it. Preparation includes
a review of previous inspections, compliance
monitoring reports, reports of fire and health
inspections, reported incidents, data collected
since the last inspection, newspaper accounts,
grievances, etc.

Announced and Unannounced Inspections
Inspections can be announced or
unannounced. The choice depends on the
agency’s strategy, and there are advantages
to both. Perhaps the main advantage of the
announced inspection is that the inspector can
be assured that jail staff responsible for monitoring standards will be available during the
inspection. This will, of course, facilitate the
inspection. The main advantage of the unannounced inspection is that the inspector will see
the jail as it operates on an average day. Some
states may do both types of inspections, for
different purposes and on different occasions.
The inspector prepares in the same manner for
both announced and unannounced inspections.

At the Facility
Upon arriving at the facility, the inspector
should conduct an entrance interview with the
jail administrator and any other officials who
will be involved in the inspection. The purpose
of the entrance interview is to discuss the scope
of the inspection, set an agenda of activities,
and request certain information to update the
last inspection (e.g., accomplishments, renovations, changes in policy, critical incidents). The
entrance interview allows for an exchange of
information and clarifies any outstanding issues
prior to the actual inspection. A checklist for
the entrance interview and other routine inspection activities may be helpful, especially if the

information to be gathered will be used in an
inspection report.
The inspection usually will consist of
operational and management inspections
and a physical plant inspection, as discussed
earlier in this chapter. The operational and
management inspections should include a
thorough and exhaustive review or audit of
all documentation offered to demonstrate compliance. The physical plant inspection should
include:
l	

A tour of the facility and grounds.

l	

Discussions with staff and inmates.

l	

Examination of written policies and
procedures, post orders, inmate rules and
regulations, notifications to visitors, essential forms (booking, release, classification),
medical request forms, etc.

l	

A check of fire extinguisher tags, airpack
tags, emergency lighting, emergency exit
routes, backup generators, security devices,
locking mechanisms, and cleanliness.

l	

A check of conditions of confinement, such
as crowding, food services areas, medical
areas, visiting, intake, general housing,
indoor and outdoor exercise areas, etc.

The physical plant inspection takes a “snapshot”
of the facility on the day it is inspected, while
the operational and management inspections
allow the inspector to verify that standards are
being addressed on an ongoing basis. Together,
the three types of inspections—if conducted
thoroughly—ensure a comprehensive assessment
of the jail’s compliance with state standards.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

The inspector should also conduct some form of
exit interview to present preliminary findings,
request additional information, and address any
questions the jail staff may raise. This is also
an opportunity for jail staff to clarify any findings of noncompliance, in case the inspector
overlooked something or mistakenly concluded
the jail was noncompliant with a standard when,
in fact, it was compliant. During the exit interview, the inspector can talk to jail staff about
what they have to do to gain compliance where
deficiencies exist, and the inspector and the staff
can begin planning for a compliance timetable
to address deficiencies.

The Report
The next step in the inspection process is issuing the report—a formalized list of findings
of compliance and noncompliance. Some
agencies leave a checklist of findings at the jail;
this may be a final report or it may be preliminary. If it is preliminary, that usually means
it must be reviewed at a higher level, eventually to be approved by a board, a commission,
or an official such as the Commissioner of
Corrections. The final report can be a checklist,
a formal written report, or a combination of
both.

52

Regardless of the agency’s authority, the compliance plan is a useful tool for inspectors as
they assist jails in moving toward full compliance. It also documents that inspectors have met
their duty to assess and monitor compliance
with standards.

Compliance Monitoring
The final step in the inspection process is
compliance monitoring. Compliance monitoring uses the compliance plan as its basis. The
duration of monitoring depends on the extent of
noncompliance with standards. Facilities in substantial noncompliance will require considerable
time to correct their deficiencies, while those in
substantial compliance may be able to correct
deficiencies quickly and thus may need very
limited monitoring.
Without a monitoring phase, the inspection process would not be complete. Failure to be thorough in monitoring compliance may open the
inspection agency to liability, as in the Texas and
Florida cases discussed in chapter 1. Compliance
monitoring does not necessarily take much time
and effort on the part of inspectors, but it is critical to the integrity of the inspection process and
to the inspector’s continuing credibility.

The Compliance Plan

A Word About Technical Assistance

When a jail has deficiencies, a compliance plan
should be developed and included in the final
report. A compliance plan is a formalized listing
of deficiencies and may include a statement of
requirements and a compliance date. Methods
for ensuring compliance depend on the authority
the state gives to the inspection agency. A state’s
standards may be mandatory or voluntary.
“Mandatory” implies that corrective action must
be taken, which is not the case if the standards
are voluntary.

A subsequent chapter focuses on the inspector’s
technical assistance role, but it is important to
note that role here because it is a logical outcome of the inspection process.
The very nature of an inspection implies the
possibility that deficiencies will be found. For
the inspector, the creative part of the job comes
when a jail needs assistance in correcting deficiencies. The inspector can provide valuable
assistance if he or she has seen other jails that
have corrected similar deficiencies or has helped

CHAPTER 3: The Inspection Process

other jails solve similar problems. This is especially true when a jail needs to change its operations or develop policies and procedures.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 3–4
	12.	 The inspection process is the one process

19. ______________________________ is the
process whereby the inspector monitors the
progress of a jail toward full compliance
with standards.
20. Technical assistance is a role the inspector
may fill in advising a jail as it moves toward

that is uniform across the various states.

compliance with standards.

_____ True _____ False

_____ True _____ False

	13.	 The key to a successful inspection process

21. Arrange the following parts of the inspection

is that it be _________________________,

process in sequence, from first to last:

______________________________, and

_____	 a.	 Compliance plan.

___________________________________

_____	 b.	 Preinspection.
_____	 c.	 Exit interview.

	14.	 The inspection process can be either
announced or unannounced.
_____ True _____ False
	15.	 Preparation for the inspection includes
a review of previous inspections and
compliance-monitoring reports.
_____ True _____ False
	16.	 A _________________________ may be
a useful tool for routine activities in the
inspection process.
	17.	 A complete inspection can be made on the
basis of a physical plant inspection alone.
_____ True _____ False
18. A _____________________________ is a
formalized listing of deficiencies and may
include dates for correction.

_____	 d.	 Entrance interview.
_____	 e.	Physical plant/operational/
management inspection.
_____	 f.	 Compliance monitoring.
_____	 g.	 Report.

Section 3–5. Data Collection
The jail inspection agency’s information-related
role may extend beyond the factfinding that
is inherent in the inspection process. At the
state level, the jail inspection agency is often
the focal point for all matters concerning jails.
State officials from the legislature, attorney
general’s office, corrections department, health
department, fire marshal’s office, etc., all have
interests and concerns that involve jails. In
addition, a variety of public interest groups and
individuals—civic groups, associations of counties, sheriffs’ associations, jailers’ associations,
bar associations, etc.—may have concerns about
jails. These concerns point to the need for data
to inform decisions about budgeting, planning,
construction, and the development of public
policy.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Although data collection may not be within
the mandate of the jail inspection agency, most
agencies collect basic information so they can
answer questions from interested parties. This
may seem like an unnecessary burden. However,
if jail inspectors want positive change for jails,
they must advocate for it. And collecting and
disseminating information is a principal means
of advocating for change.
The ultimate use of data may be the passage of
laws that benefit jails. Such laws, passed in several states, include:
l	

State funding for jail construction.

l	

Good-time laws.

l	

Authorization for community work
programs.

l	

Funding for community corrections
programs.

l	

Mandated training for jailers.

l	

Diversion programs for the mentally ill.

l	

Home detention to alleviate overcrowding.

	22.	 Data collection is important in which of the
following instances:
_____	 a.	To justify and determine staffing
needs.
_____	 b.	To determine the placement of
exercise equipment.
_____	 c.	To assess the proper time for
sick call.
_____	 d.	 To develop budget requests.
_____	 e.	 To project future jail capacity.
_____	 f.	To project renovation or
construction needs.
	23.	 Collection of data, although not necessarily mandated by statute, is a way to develop
information that could further the interests
of jails.
_____ True _____ False
	24.	 Information is important for the develop-

In addition, information is important for jail
managers because it helps them:

54

Q&AReview Questions for Section 3–5

l	

Determine and justify staffing needs.

l	

Determine program and service needs.

l	

Project future capacities and plan for
expansion.

l	

Determine the impact of proposed policies
(e.g., sentencing).

l	

Forecast the impact of alternative policy
choices.

ment of public policy.
_____ True _____ False

Conclusion
In short, the inspection process is at the heart
of any standards program. It is the main vehicle
for objectively assessing the performance of
jails. The standards program is all about positive change from within the correctional system,
and the inspection process is a basic part of that
positive change.

CHAPTER 3: The Inspection Process

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 3
	 1.	 False. (The term refers to a state’s fundamental reason for conducting jail inspections: its interest in safely confining inmates
and protecting jail staff and the public.)
	 2.	 Compliance plan.

e. Primary.
f. Secondary.
g. Secondary.
h. Primary.
i. Secondary.

	 3.	 True.

	10.	 True.

	 4.	 Professionalism.

	11.	 False. (Written documentation is necessary
to prove compliance.)

	 5.	 Good faith.
	 6.	 Internal inspections.

	12.	 False. (The process varies from state to state
depending on the authority of the inspection
agency.)

	 7.	 a. Management.
	13.	 Rigorous, thorough, and fair.
b. Physical plant.
	14.	 True.
c. Physical plant.
	15.	 True.
d. Complete.
	16.	 Checklist.
e. Physical plant.
f. Operational.

	17.	 False. (Operational and management inspections are also needed.)

g. Management.

	18.	 Compliance plan.

h. Management.

	19.	 Compliance monitoring.

i. Partial.

	20.	 True.

	 8.	 True.

	21.	 b, d, e, c, g, a, f.

	 9.	 a. Primary.

	22.	 a, c, d, e, f.

b. Primary.

	23.	 True.

c. Secondary.

	24.	 True.

d. Primary.

55

ChapTer 4

Facility Design

Chapter 4: Facility Design
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:
	 1.	 Identify correctional design concepts, including linear, podular remote, and direct supervision
designs, and centralized versus decentralized spaces. (See section 4–1.)
	 2.	 Identify 11 components of a jail facility and explain their importance to jail operations.
(See section 4–2.)
	 3.	 Explain why separate housing is necessary for males and females and for adults and juveniles, in terms of legal requirements and practical correctional operations. (See section 4–3.)
	 4.	 Identify the variety of custody levels to be considered in jail construction, in terms of the jail’s
functions and the costs of building jail beds. (See section 4–4.)
	 5.	 List several considerations in deciding the capacity of a planned jail and identify methods for
making such decisions. (See section 4–5.)

Chapter 4: Facility Design

Because many of the nation’s jail facilities are
antiquated and most are overcrowded, considerable jail construction is taking place. Jail inspectors are often among the first to recognize or
identify inadequate facility conditions. Reasons
for these inadequacies may include deteriorating
physical plants or design problems that inhibit
effective operations, including staff supervision
of inmates.
Inspectors are often asked to provide information and advice on designing new jail facilities.
In some states, the jail inspection office may
have review authority for jail designs, especially
if the state provides funds for construction or
renovation or if it has jail construction criteria
or standards. It is important for the jail inspector
to be knowledgeable about the latest concepts
in jail design and how designs can affect jail
operations.
Too often, jurisdictions have made tragic mistakes or miscalculations in the design and/or
construction of new jails. In some jurisdictions,
poor planning resulted in new jails that did not
meet even current or short-term future needs,
and the jurisdictions had to begin another round
of facility planning almost immediately. In other
more devastating examples, new facilities were
declared unconstitutional before they opened, or
the jurisdictions realized after the construction
phase that although they could afford to build the
jail, they could not afford the staff to operate it.

Fortunately, such experiences are becoming less
frequent, perhaps in part because of the assistance provided by jail inspectors. The inspector
does not have to be a professional jail planner,
architect, or construction manager to be effective. However, indepth knowledge of the latest
principles of jail design—and an awareness of
available resources—will make the inspector
better able to provide valuable technical assistance in jail planning.
This chapter addresses the important relationship between jail design and jail operations. It
also discusses the necessary components of a
jail design project, including housing separation based on classification and security needs
and spaces for intake, support services, programming, exercise, administration, and other
functions. Finally, it notes considerations in projecting future jail capacity needs.

Section 4–1. Major Jail Design Concepts
Facility design has always been a concern for
correctional professionals. The design challenge
is to ensure effective management of jail security and safety while at the same time providing
for a variety of services and programming.
Jail design principles have evolved over the
years. Three major design concepts have
emerged: linear, podular remote, and direct
supervision. Often, the inspector will see components of each design type in a new facility,
but facilities are generally built with one of the
concepts predominating.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Linear Design

Podular Remote Design

Linear design (also called intermittent
surveillance) is the most common design
concept in jails designed before the 1970s.
This design is generally rectangular, with singleor multiple-occupancy cells arranged in a row.
Often, the linear jail has a security corridor or
catwalk around the perimeter of the cells, for
use by the officer in making rounds. The officer
must patrol the corridor and look through bars
or windows to see into cells or housing units,
observing inmates only intermittently while
passing each area on rounds.

Podular remote design is found in more recently constructed jails. In this configuration, cells
ring a common area or dayroom, in a podular
design. The officer is stationed in a secure
control room adjacent to one or more housing
units of similar design. The officer can observe
the dayroom from a window in this room.
Although the officer cannot see into the cells,
intercom systems may allow the officer to
communicate with inmates when they are
locked in their cells. The control room officer
does not leave the post in this arrangement.
Sometimes, other officers move in and out of
the housing units in response to problems or
when conducting daily activities.

The linear design concept poses a unique difficulty: An officer who is observing one cell
or group of cells cannot observe other cells at
the same time. This creates a situation in which
predatory inmates can exert control over other
inmates. Many of today’s lawsuits relate to linear design, in that it does not allow for effective
supervision—the result being incidents such as
suicide and brutality.

60

As with any type of design, the key to effective
podular remote housing is proper classification of inmates. By ensuring that inmates are
assigned to appropriate housing units, a good
classification system goes a long way toward
limiting any problems that may be inherent in
a particular design.

The critical variables that determine the effectiveness of a linear jail are staffing, the frequency and thoroughness of patrols, and the proper
classification of inmates.

The advantage of the podular remote unit over
the linear unit is that the officer can observe

Linear Design

Podular Remote Design

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

inmates constantly. It can be argued that the
officer’s presence, although remote, may be
sufficient to deter negative behavior. A disadvantage is that there are barriers to effective
interpersonal contact between the officer
and inmates.

Direct Supervision Design
The third design category is direct supervision.
This is also a podular design. It differs from
the podular remote design in that the officer
is located directly in the housing unit with the
inmates. Like podular remote, direct supervision
is more effective than linear design in that the
officer can directly observe the inmates while
they are in common areas. When inmates are
locked in their cells, the officer may communicate with them during rounds and by use of
intercoms.
With direct supervision, the officer can constantly monitor behaviors and interact with
inmates and can detect trouble before it escalates. The officer is responsible for controlling
inmates’ behavior, keeping negative behavior to
a minimum, reducing tension, and encouraging
positive behavior. Again, inmate classification is

Direct Supervision Design

important: a key is having segregation housing
available for inmates who cannot behave appropriately in the direct supervision setting.
Direct supervision is based on eight principles,
developed by W. Raymond Nelson when he
was chief of the Jails Division at the National
Institute of Corrections (NIC). Direct supervision combines an inmate management philosophy with a specific jail design and requires a
commitment on the part of jail administrators
to understanding and implementing the direct
supervision philosophy. For more information
on podular direct supervision and the eight
principles, see the bibliography at the end of
this chapter.

Centralized and Decentralized Spaces
In addition to the three inmate housing design
concepts described above, another basic
design concept pertains to centralized and
decentralized spaces for services and programming. Centralized spaces provide efficiency of
operations in that inmates can be moved from
their housing units and taken to services and
programming. Decentralized spaces provide
efficiency of operations by taking the services
or programs to the housing units. It is also
possible to combine centralized and decentralized services and programming.
Important operational and construction considerations affect design choices regarding centralized
and decentralized services and programs. These
considerations include facility costs, staff costs,
and the security risks associated with moving
inmates in and out of their housing units.
Centralized services and programs tend to
be those that serve the entire jail. Examples
include medical units, laundry service, and
spaces such as classrooms and recreation areas
(especially limited outdoor spaces) that can
serve all inmates on a scheduled plan.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

The choice of spaces for services and programming—centralized, decentralized, or a combination of both—is a design and management
decision. This decision is a key determinant of
design plans for new jail facilities.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 4–1
Linear Design
	 1.	 Another term for a linear design is
____________________________________
	 2.	 The term “linear design” comes from the
fact that such jails are designed with cells in
“line,” with a security corridor around them.
_____ True _____ False
	 3.	 Effective supervision is possible in a linear
jail because the officer is able to observe all
inmates simultaneously.
_____ True _____ False
Podular Remote Design
	 4.	 In a podular remote design, the officer
observes the inmates from_______________
____________________________________
	 5.	 One advantage of podular remote over
linear design is that the officer____________
____________________________________
	 6. 	The podular remote housing design facilitates interpersonal contact between the officer and the inmates.
_____ True _____ False

62

	 7.	 Proper inmate classification makes the podular remote housing unit effective.
_____ True _____ False
Direct Supervision Design
	 8.	 Direct supervision differs from podular remote supervision in that the officer
assigned to a direct supervision unit is
____________________________________
	 9.	 The podular remote and direct supervision
designs both allow for constant supervision
of inmates.
_____ True _____ False
	10.	 Identify which of the following is Not
a responsibility of the officer in a direct
supervision housing unit:
a. Reducing tension.
b. Keeping negative behavior to a minimum.
c. Conducting disciplinary hearings.
d. Encouraging positive behavior.
Centralized and Decentralized Design
	11.	 One reason for choosing decentralized
services is the efficiency of_ _____________
____________________________________
	12.	 Facility and manpower costs are two
important considerations in choosing either
centralized or decentralized services or
programs.
_____ True _____ False

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

	13.	 In most cases, decentralized spaces are
preferred over centralized spaces for jail
design.
_____ True _____ False

Section 4–2. Components of a Jail Facility
Most jails built before the 1970s were designed
as simple lockups for “warehousing” inmates
who were awaiting court appearances or serving
short sentences. It is important to note that these
older jails were built in the “hands-off” era,
before the courts became involved in correctional matters. Court intervention brought the evolution of inmate rights, along with the need for
better classification and separation of inmates
and for improvements in jail conditions.
Court decisions have necessitated improvements
in nearly every aspect of jail design and operations. All jails, regardless of when they were
built, provide space for intake and release, personal and professional visits, and basic services
such as food and medical care. As populations
have changed and court interventions have
increased, many of these spaces have become
inadequate. Furthermore, all jails, regardless
of size, also need to have adequate space to
separate inmates according to classifications
based on certain behavioral and legal requirements (e.g., male from female, adult from juvenile, violent from nonviolent, sentenced from
nonsentenced).
The problem faced by many jail administrators is that they must continue to operate their
jails even when the facilities are seriously lacking in appropriate design features. The question becomes how best to address design and
operational issues in a way that ensures both the
constitutional rights of inmates and the safety of
staff and the community.

NIC’s Jails Division (formerly the Jail Center),
established in the 1970s, has emphasized the
sharing and distribution of jail designs. This
initiative has produced a number of manuals and
other publications that address contemporary
jail design, functional, and operational issues
(see the bibliography at the end of this chapter).
A primary purpose of the initiative has been
to help ensure that new jails are designed with
proven, contemporary concepts in mind, grouping interrelated jail functions into a logical flow
of operations and allowing jail operations and
layouts to complement each other. An overall
goal was for jails to evolve from being basic
lockups and warehousing facilities to being
facilities that can be viewed as community
assets, where inmates’ constitutional rights are
observed and jail staff make significant efforts
to help inmates become better citizens.
With these ideas in mind, this section addresses
the major jail components that should be considered in the planning phases of a new jail project.

Security Equipment and Technology
Security is integral to the technology of jails.
Equipment and devices to implement a security
program are quite complicated. The inspector
need not be an expert in technology but should
know basic security requirements that are part
of contemporary jail planning and design.
A jail’s area is defined and limited by its
security perimeter. This is the outer portion of
the jail, including walls, ceiling, and floors that
form a secure barrier between the inner part of
the jail and the community. The integrity of the
perimeter allows the jail to maintain its basic
mission to protect public safety by securely
holding inmates. The perimeter should never
be compromised, and planning is required to
provide secure access points for people and
supplies.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

The hub of the jail, especially with advanced
security technology, is the control center,
which monitors closed-circuit television
(CCTV), intercoms, telephone lines, fire and
smoke systems, and locking mechanisms. The
control center is a locked, secure post that is
operated and staffed 24 hours per day. Access
to the control center is limited to specific staff;
inmates and the public are not permitted access.
The control center manages access into and
out of the facility. In smaller facilities, the control center may be located in the same place as
fire and law enforcement dispatch functions.
Larger jails may have smaller satellite facilities
that are subordinate in function to the main control center.
Other equipment and technology to be considered in jail design include an emergency generator; walkthrough metal detectors; detection
systems (e.g., motion, sound, vibration); CCTV;
communications systems (e.g., public address,
two-way radios, intercoms, telephones); locking systems; and fire detection and suppression
systems.

Environmental Conditions
Most states with jail standards, as well as the
American Correctional Association, address
environmental conditions in standards for
new construction. In addition, many aspects
of environmental conditions are regulated by
local building codes or are addressed by agencies such as local and state health departments.
Environmental conditions include lighting
levels, noise levels, temperature, water quality
and disposal, sewage treatment, and air quality.
Although specific environmental technologies
are beyond the expertise of most jail inspectors, a basic knowledge of what is required and
where facility planners can access related information is important to the inspector’s technical
assistance role.

64

Intake and Release
The intake area is a vital component of a jail,
because all inmates are processed in this area
and initial classification begins there. Too often,
a lack of good planning results in too little
space being allocated for this important process,
and the layout and flow of operations are awkward and ineffective.
To properly design an intake area, planners
must consider factors such as inmate processing time, intake volume and peaktime loads,
and temporary holding prior to first appearance
and prior to classification. Other factors include
the need for detoxification, temporary suicide
watch, and medical isolation.
The location of the intake area is an essential
design issue. It must be adjacent to the vehicular
sallyport and convenient to other jail entry
points. Important functional considerations
for intake area design include the need for
weapons lockers, arresting officers’ work areas,
a fingerprinting and photographing station, alcohol testing equipment, property storage and
laundry areas, search areas, showers and clothing exchange, phones, and areas for initial medical screening, initial classification, and
orientation to jail rules. (Many of these considerations apply, in some fashion, to the release of
inmates.)
The flow of operations for the intake and booking processes must avoid bottlenecks to ensure
effectiveness and efficiency, especially during
high-volume periods. (Again, similar considerations apply to the release process.) Effective
intake systems are similar to effective assembly
line systems in that they must be well thought
out and organized. Two examples: High-risk
intake cells should be located close to a staff
post, so intake staff can readily observe the
arrestees. The shower area should be located
near the search and property areas.

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

Because the intake area is where arrestees
who eventually are housed in the jail are first
exposed to staff organization and control, intake
conditions can “set the tone” for the facility. If
intake is effectively organized and controlled,
that suggests the rest of the jail is too. If, on the
other hand, intake is poorly organized and staff
control is questionable, arrestees may conclude
that they will be unsafe in the jail or may later
test the housing officer’s control.

Housing
Housing unit design involves more than choosing the basic design concept, as discussed
earlier in this chapter (see section 4–1). Other
considerations inspectors should be aware of are
inmate classifications and the design of doors
and gates.
Planning considerations must include inmate
classifications and the expected number of
inmates in each classification to be housed at
the jail. As noted earlier, major classifications
for separation include male and female, juvenile and adult, violent and nonviolent, and (in
some jurisdictions) sentenced and nonsentenced.
Depending on the scope of a jail’s operations,
other considerations may include medical isolation, administrative segregation, disciplinary
isolation, separate housing for inmates with
misdemeanor and felony charges, inmate worker
housing, and separate low-security housing
for work release and/or educational release
inmates. Although most jails include minimum-,
medium-, and maximum-security classifications,
some may be designed for only one classification (e.g., minimum-security work facilities).
A basic concept in constructing any space that
will routinely contain inmates is to ensure that
doors into each area are “outward swinging.”
This is important because an inward-swinging
door can easily be braced by an inmate’s foot

or body, allowing an inmate to at least temporarily create a blockade. Also, should an inmate
faint or otherwise become unconscious and
fall next to an inward-swinging door, staff may
not be able to enter the room to administer
medical attention. Care should be taken that an
outward-swinging door or gate cannot be tied
off by inmates in a way that would keep it from
opening.

Health Care
Health services are essential to any jail. Many
smaller jails provide only first-aid treatment
and transport inmates needing more extensive
medical care to offsite facilities. Depending on
the levels of care the jail provides, planners may
need to consider spaces such as examination
areas; infirmary housing; medical isolation cells;
negative pressure cells for infectious diseases;
storage areas for medications, supplies, and
biohazards; temporary secure holding areas
for inmates awaiting appointments; and spaces
for clerical and administrative functions. The
medical area should provide for easy access by
medical staff to the intake area and for easy
access by inmates from the general population
area.
When designing health care units, planners
should communicate with local experts who
are familiar with applicable regulations, requirements, and standards. This can be especially
critical for areas such as negative pressure cells/
rooms where structural components must meet
certain standards.

Visitation
Every jail must make some provision for visitation. Even short-term detention facilities may
have to provide space for visits by attorneys,
clergy, or bonding agents. Planning considerations include contact versus noncontact

65

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

visitation, professional visitation, maintaining
personal visitors outside the security perimeter
of the jail, minimum movement of inmates,
and availability and ease of supervision. The
amount of space required will depend on the
frequency and length of visitation, the number
of visitors allowed per visit, and the number of
visitation stations.
Other considerations in planning for visitation
spaces include whether inmates are brought to
a central area or visitors are brought to stations
adjacent to inmate living areas. Stations adjacent to living areas can be designed so visitors
can use them without entering the security
perimeter.
Video visitation may replace face-to-face visits. Video visiting stations with monitors can
be located in the jail’s public lobby or even at
remote locations, allowing the inmate to be kept
in or near the housing area. (Some states may
not allow jails to substitute video visitation for
face-to-face visits.)
Passage of contraband is one of the security
concerns in designing visitation spaces; metal
detectors, lockers for personal belongings, and
areas for searching inmates and visitors all make
visitation spaces more secure. Areas that facilitate staff observation also add to security.

Food Service
Food service requires space for providing three
meals per day for inmates in accordance with
dietary and hygienic standards. The amount of
space and type of equipment required depend
on how the services are provided. Jails that
maintain a full-service kitchen where all meals
are prepared inhouse require appropriate space
and equipment for receiving and storing perishable and nonperishable food, supply storage,
preparation, serving, cleanup and dishwashing,

66

waste disposal, handwashing stations, and food
service management. Jails where some or all
meals are prepared offsite by a vendor or other
institution should provide a secure means of
receiving supplies into the facility, as well as
space and equipment for warmup, serving, and
cleanup, and space for equipment storage.
Another planning consideration is whether
inmates will eat in their housing units or in
a central dining facility. If meals are served
in the housing units, planners need to determine
how meals will be moved from the preparation or receiving station to the housing units. If
meals are served in a central facility, planners
need to determine how to move inmates from
their living quarters to the “mess hall.” Another
design issue is the need for food ports in cell
doors for high-risk inmates.

Facility Support
Often overlooked (or receiving less emphasis)
in jail planning are spaces for facility support
services and equipment, such as inmate property storage, laundry, janitor closets, sanitation,
maintenance, hair care, commissary, life-safety
equipment locations, trash removal, and storage
(e.g. files, recreation supplies, mattresses, and
bed linens). The importance of having adequate
storage spaces to support all the activities
of the jail cannot be overemphasized. Often,
storage areas are too small, too few, and located
too far away from the activities they support.

Exercise/Recreation
Inmate exercise and recreation areas are important planning considerations. Planners must be
clear about the types of exercise and recreation
activities to be offered, because design decisions
need to support these activities. How much,
if any, exercise and recreation will be offered
outside? Will the exercise and recreation spaces

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

be decentralized and located adjacent to or as
extended portions of the inmate living spaces,
or will exercise and recreation be offered in a
centralized location? Planning decisions about
the size and makeup of the exercise and recreation space(s) will depend on the type of activities planned.

Programs
If the jail is to provide programs, planners need
to consider the number and types of programs
to be offered. Most jails that house inmates for
more than a few days generally provide services
such as general equivalency diploma (GED)
programs or other basic educational opportunities, self-help programs (e.g., Alcoholics
Anonymous), counseling (e.g. drug/alcohol
abuse, mental health, social services), and religious services. Again, planners need to decide
early on which programming spaces should
be centralized and which spaces should be
decentralized. Storage areas for program materials should also be considered. The number
and classifications of inmates who will use the
programs, together with the philosophy of the
jail’s administration, may determine the jail’s
use of centralized and decentralized programming spaces. Planners should also be aware that
some programs are mandatory in many states.

Administrative and Staff Areas
Administrative areas include space for administration, fiscal and personnel management,
communications and interaction with the public,
security management, program management,
standards compliance activities, physical plant
management, and records management. Such
spaces generally include the public lobby, public
toilets, the reception area, offices for administrative staff, conference and meeting rooms, clerical areas, space for records and files, security

equipment storage, and related support areas.
Administrative areas should be outside the jail’s
security perimeter but adjacent to it. Public
access to administrative areas beyond the lobby
or reception area should be controlled.
Staff areas are intended for the private use of
jail staff and may include spaces such as break
rooms, training room, lockers and showers,
physical conditioning areas, and staff toilets.
Staff areas are generally located outside the
secure perimeter but close to an access point
into the secure area of the jail.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 4–2
Security Equipment and Technology
	14.	 The hub of the jail, especially with
advanced security technology, is the control
center.
_____ True _____ False
	15.	 The_________________________________
manages access into and out of the facility.
	16.	 The outer portion of the jail, including
walls, ceiling, and floors that form a secure
barrier between the inner part of the jail and
the community, is called the	_____________
____________________________________
Environmental Conditions
	17.	 Many environmental conditions are regulated by local building codes or are addressed
by agencies such as the local and state
health departments.
_____ True _____ False

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Intake and Release
	18.	 A___________________________________
results in too little space being allocated
to this important process, and the layout
and flow of operation are awkward and
ineffective.
	19.	 Four important considerations for intake and
release include:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
	20.	 High-risk intake cells should be located
close to a staff post so that intake staff can
readily observe the arrestees.
_____ True _____ False

	24.	 The amount of space for visiting will
depend on the frequency and length of visits, the number of visitors allowed per visit,
and the number of visitation stations.
_____ True _____ False
	25.	 It is best to design visitation areas so
inmates are brought to a central point.
Otherwise, visitors would have to enter the
security perimeter.
_____ True _____ False
Food Service, Facility Support, and Exercise/
Recreation
	26.	 An important design consideration for food
service is whether inmates will eat in their
housing units or in a centralized dining
facility.
_____ True _____ False

Housing, Health Care, and Visitation
	21.	 Planning considerations must include
____________________________________
and_ ________________________________
to be housed at the jail.
	22.	 The medical area need not provide for easy
access by medical staff to the intake area,
because usually at least one medical staff
member is posted there at most times.
_____ True _____ False
	23.	 Cells designed for housing inmates with
infectious diseases are called_____________
____________________________________

68

	27.	 In jail design, storage areas often are too
small, too few, and located too far away
from the activities they support.
_____ True _____ False
	28.	 Planning decisions about the _____________
of exercise and recreation space(s) will
depend on the type of activities planned.
Programs and Administrative/Staff Areas
	29.	 The number and_______________________
of inmates, together with the_____________
of the jail’s administration, may determine
the jail’s use of centralized and decentralized spaces for programs.

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

	30.	 Administrative areas should be outside the
jail’s security perimeter but adjacent to it.
_____ True _____ False

Section 4–3. Separate Housing Issues
It is a matter of law for jails to adequately
separate males from females and adults from
juveniles. In some states, laws also require separating sentenced from nonsentenced, violent
from nonviolent, and misdemeanor from felon
inmates. Generally, the law requires the housing
separations to be by “sight, sound (or out of the
range of normal conversation), and touch.”
Note that the intention behind misdemeanorfelony separation may have an inherent flaw. It
is not uncommon to find misdemeanor inmates
who can be considered high risk because of
their criminal history, bad attitude, or other
factors, whereas some felony inmates can be
considered low risk because they lack a criminal history, have a relatively good attitude, etc.
Additionally, in some states, certain less violent
crimes may be felonies and some misdemeanor
crimes may involve violence.
Because of federal and state initiatives to keep
adult inmates separate from juvenile inmates,
jurisdictions often house arrested juveniles in
facilities other than the local jail. However,
many jails still face the challenge of meeting
adult-juvenile separation requirements during
intake activities. Once intake activities have
been completed, jails usually send juveniles to
a juvenile detention facility or release them to
a guardian or parent. Laws and practices vary
from state to state on this issue.
An additional issue related to separation of
adults and juveniles is that in many states, some
juveniles are being charged as adults and thus
may be housed in the jail. However, although

they are considered adults because of the crime
with which they are charged, they still are
young people and need to be separated from the
adult inmate population for their protection.
In states that require separation for sentenced
and nonsentenced inmates and for inmates
charged with misdemeanor offenses and those
charged with felony offenses, inspectors must
become familiar with their state’s statutes, standards, and case law pertaining to separation
based on these classifications. Separation needs
to be addressed in a number of areas, including housing, exercise/recreation, programming,
services, etc. Some states allow commingling of
classifications during programs such as GED or
alcohol counseling.
Common practice dictates that violent inmates
are to be separated from nonviolent inmates, at
least by touch separation. However, inspectors
need to be familiar with further separation
requirements for these classifications, as specified in their state’s statutes, standards, and case
law.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 4–3
	31.	 It is a________________________________
for jails to adequately separate males from
females and adults from juveniles.
	32.	 Because of_ __________________________
to keep adult inmates separate from juvenile
inmates, jurisdictions often house arrested
juveniles in facilities other than the local
jail.

69

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	33.	 The intention behind misdemeanor-felony
separation may have an inherent flaw,
in that certain misdemeanor crimes may
involve more violence than some felony
crimes.
_____ True _____ False
	34.	 Although juveniles may be charged as
adults for certain crimes and so may be
housed in the jail, they still are young people and need to be separated from the adult
inmate population for their protection.
_____ True _____ False

Section 4–4. Custody Levels and
Construction Costs
That the cost of jail construction has skyrocketed is no surprise. Furthermore, the cost of jail
operations for a 30-year period usually is about
10 times the cost of the original construction.
With insufficient planning, a jurisdiction may be
able to afford to build a jail only to find that it
cannot afford to operate that jail. When planning
for the construction of a new jail, it is extremely
important for a jurisdiction to be confident that
it can actually staff and operate the new facility.
New jail construction can cost up to $85,000 per
maximum-security bed, or even more in some
instances. Regardless of the cost, the following
principle of a well-planned jail applies: costs
can be anticipated and managed with careful
analysis of the types of persons to be incarcerated, local criminal justice policies, and the
types and amounts of inmate programming to be
provided.
Most county officials have never planned for a
new jail. Often officials who are unfamiliar with
jail construction costs will want to be hard on

70

crime and so will demand that the entire jail be
built and operated as a maximum-security facility. However, most officials become very open
to medium- and minimum-security jail designs
when they learn that these facilities are less
expensive to build and operate. Maximumsecurity spaces cost more because they need
more sophisticated equipment; more securitylevel construction; more secure, vandalismresistant furnishings; and increased levels of
security and control features overall.
Expensive equipment, especially for maximumsecurity cells, includes one-piece, stainless
steel washbasins and toilets; high-security steel
bunks; sliding steel doors (often associated with
high maintenance and repair costs); highersecurity-grade window glazing and frames; and
higher security construction of light fixtures,
doors, locks, etc. Generally, the higher the level
of security, the higher the cost of construction,
equipment, furnishings, and operations. The
reverse is true of lower security levels.
County officials will usually accept the idea
that a jail can protect the public by having a
high-grade security perimeter and can then
have a variety of security levels (low, medium,
high) within that perimeter. Once this concept is
accepted, careful analysis of the inmate classifications to be housed and the types of programs
to be offered can help planners identify areas
that can realistically be constructed at costs in
line with lower, medium, and higher security
needs.
The options can include:
l	

Maximum security: Single cells for special
high-risk inmates, disciplinary cases, and
protective custody.

l	

Medium security: Housing that includes
single or double-bunked cells, common

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

l	

areas, and (sometimes) smaller dormitories;
designed for inmates who need less supervision than maximum-security inmates but
more than minimum-risk inmates.

an inspector is to help decisionmakers find a
middle ground for making choices that are both
economically sound and likely to result in a
well-constructed, effectively operated jail.

Minimum security: Housing with larger
dormitories, for low-risk inmates.

Another area of concern in planning a new
jail is conformance with the Americans With
Disabilities Act. This involves such things as
having the proper number of handicappedaccessible cells, showers, and toilets. Typically,
architects will keep these requirements in mind
during the planning process.

Minimum-security housing outside the security perimeter is an option for work release and
weekend sentences and perhaps also for community service inmates (who are transported to
work at various community sites).
Typically, a new jail project includes housing
arrangements for all inmate security levels. To
determine the right mix of security levels for
housing, programming, etc., planners need to
analyze the following:
l	

l	

l	

Number and types of inmates to be incarcerated (e.g., security classifications,
pretrial/sentenced, male/female, juvenile/
adult, inmates with mental illness or medical
problems, etc.).

One final caution: Despite careful planning,
unanticipated population and policy shifts may
make it necessary for a jail to change the way
it operates. To the extent that flexibility can be
built into the original design, managers will be
better able to respond to such changes.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 4–4
35. List four types of furnishings or equipment
that can drive up the cost of maximum-

Number and types of programs to be offered
to work release, weekend, and short- and
long-term inmates.

security cells:

Model of supervision to be used (direct or
remote).

c.___________________________________

Inspectors should understand that for many jail
projects, two potentially incompatible parties
make the final decisions. One is the purchasing
agency (county commissioners or mayors), and
the other is the operating agency (the county
sheriff or police chief). The purchasing party
may be interested primarily in a jail facility that
costs as little as possible, while the operating
party may want top-quality products—“cutting
edge” correctional equipment—and regard costs
as a secondary concern. Your advisory role as

a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
	36.	 When planning for the construction of a
new jail, it is extremely important for a
jurisdiction to be confident that it can actually afford to__________________________
the new facility.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	37.	 To properly assess the mix of security levels
needed in a new jail, planners need to analyze the following three variables:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
	38.	 In planning for a new jail, conflicts often
arise between the purchasing agency and the
operating agency.
_____ True _____ False
	39.	 The costs of jail construction increase dramatically if most of the planned beds are for
this level of security:_ __________________

Section 4–5. Considerations in Jail
Capacity Planning
An inspector’s findings concerning the deficiencies of an existing jail can be a prime mover
in a jurisdiction’s decision to build a new jail.
Although inspectors do not actually plan new
jails, it is natural for jurisdictions to look to
them for assistance in projecting future needs.

72

because several aspects of the calculation rely
on projected counts, which in turn are based on
presumptions that can change even while the jail
is being planned and constructed. For example,
a change in a drunk driving law could affect the
number of offenders sentenced to jail and the
length of their confinement.
Inspectors do not have to be proficient in projecting future bed counts, but they should be
aware of the different calculation methods that
can help planners make better projections. These
methods look at factors such as:
l	

Monthly detention days served.

l	

Monthly admissions.

l	

Monthly total inmates held.

l	

County population census and projections
(growth or nongrowth).

l	

Forecast assumptions (any foreseen changes
in future jail policies, new actors in the
criminal justice system, changes in the economy, community demographics, laws, etc.).

l	

Data samples based on the current jail
population.

Jurisdictions often predetermine the number
of beds for a jail project without really examining their capacity needs. Instead, they may base
the number on a fixed dollar amount. The predetermined bed count may reflect unscientific
projections that take into account only the recent
average number of inmates, plus an arbitrary
“fudge factor” to compensate for some growth
and assumptions about future bed needs.

In projecting future jail capacity needs, it is
especially important for planners to interview
all major players in the local criminal justice
system. These individuals include the police
chief, sheriff, prosecutor, judges, mayor, representatives to the state legislature, and other
elected officials.

All too often, those who estimate future bed
needs without using accepted methods miss the
mark considerably. A number of methods are
available for calculating bed needs. But even the
most scientific study is fraught with difficulties,

Once all of the relevant information has been
gathered, planners can compute a reasonably
accurate estimate of the number of beds needed
for the new jail. Their analysis will also make it
easier to justify spending taxpayer dollars on the
project.

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

Today’s jail planners are also looking beyond
their current projects to consider future expansion needs. As they develop the current plan,
they ask “How can we make this project fit with
what we might want to do 10 years from now?”

Q&AReview Questions for Section 4–5
	40.	 A change in public policy (e.g., drunk
driving laws) can dramatically affect jail
planning efforts.
_____ True _____ False
	41.	 Identify four factors that can enter into jail
planners’ calculations of future bed needs:
a.___________________________________

Conclusion
This chapter has addressed the important relationship between jail design and jail operations
and has looked at the necessary components
of a jail project. Clearly, good planning is the
key to a well-designed jail. But even the most
careful planners cannot anticipate every change
that may affect how the new jail must operate.
Making the original design as flexible as possible will help managers respond to changes.
The principles and practices outlined in this
chapter will provide inspectors with a basic
understanding of jail planning. Inspectors are
encouraged to seek out additional, current
information on jail design concepts, operational
issues affecting jail designs, and related topics. The following bibliography lists selected
resources.

b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________

73

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

Bibliography
Collins, William C. 1998. Jail Design and
Operation and the Constitution: An Overview.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 014848.
Farbstein, J., and Goldman, M. 1983. Housing
Pretrial Inmates—The Costs and Benefits of
Single Cells, Multiple Cells, and Dormitories.
Sacramento, CA: Sacramento County Board of
Corrections, Sacramento, California.
Goldman, Mark. 2003. Jail Design Review
Handbook. Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, National Institute of Corrections. NIC
Accession Number 018443.
Kichen, C.J., Murphy, J., and Levinson, R.B.
1993. Correctional Technology: A User’s Guide.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 011561.
Kimme, Dennis. 1988. Small Jail Design Guide:
A Planning and Design Resource for Local
Facilities of up to 50 Beds. Washington, DC:
U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of
Corrections. NIC Accession Number 015061.
Kimme, Dennis. 1998. Jail Design Guide: A
Resource for Small and Medium-Sized Jails.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections.
Martin, Mark D. 1986. Jail Planning and
Construction Guide. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska
Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal
Justice, Nebraska Jail Standards Division.

74

Martin, Mark D., and Rosazza, Thomas A.
2004. Resource Guide for Jail Administrators.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 020030.	
National Institute of Corrections. No date.
Planning of New Institutions Phase One
Community Meeting Resource Manual.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections.
National Institute of Corrections. 1985. Jail
Capacity Forecasting and Inmate Sample
Workbook. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, National Institute of Corrections.
National Institute of Corrections. 1993. Podular,
Direct Supervision Jails: Information Packet.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 015527.
National Institute of Corrections. 2005. Jails
in America: A Report on Podular Direct
Supervision. Videotape. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, National Institute of
Corrections. NIC Accession Number 020741.
Nelson, R.W., O’Toole, M., Krauth, B., and
Whitmore, C.G. 1984. Direct Supervision
Models. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, National Institute of Corrections.
O’Toole, M.A., Nelson, W.R., Liebert, D.R.,
and Keller, K.D. 2004. Self-Audit Instrument
for Administrators of Direct Supervision Jails:
Based on the Measurable Elements of Direct
Supervision. Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, National Institute of Corrections. NIC
Accession Number 019640.

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

Robertson, James. 2003. Jail Planning and
Expansion: Local Officials and their Roles.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 017831.
Rosazza, T.A., and Cook, W.F. 1999. Jail intake:
Managing a critical function, Parts one and two.
American Jails 13(1 and 2).
Wenner, R., and Farbstein, J., eds. 1987.
Proceedings of the Second Annual Symposium
on New Generation Jails. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, National Institute of
Corrections. NIC Accession Number 005914.
Wilke, Leonard, ed. 1999. Planning and Design
Guide for Secure Adult and Juvenile Facilities.
Alexandria, VA: American Correctional
Association.

75

CHAPTER 4: Facility Design

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 4

	17.	 True.
	18.	 Lack of good planning.

	 1.	 Intermittent surveillance.
	 2.	 True.
	 3.	 False. (Inmates can only be observed during
the officer’s tour of the catwalk. The officer
cannot observe all the inmates at the same
time.)

	19.	 Any of the following: facilities for weapons
lockers, arresting officers’ work areas,
fingerprinting and photographing station,
alcohol testing equipment, property storage and laundry, search areas, showers and
clothing exchange, phones, and areas for
initial medical screening, initial classification, and orientation to jail rules.

	 4.	 A secure control booth.
	20.	 True.
	 5.	 Can observe inmates continuously.
	 6.	 False. (The officer is “remote” in a secure
control booth and has minimal contact with
inmates.)

	21.	 Inmate classifications and the expected
number of inmates in each classification.

	 7.	 True.

	22.	 False. (The medical area should provide for
easy access by medical staff to the intake
area.)

	 8.	 Located within the housing unit.

	23.	 Negative pressure cell.

	 9.	 True.

	24.	 True.

	10.	 c. (This would generally be done by a
higher authority after a problem is reported
by the correctional officer.)

	25.	 False. (It is possible to design visitation stations adjacent to inmate living areas so visitors can use the stations without entering the
security perimeter.)

	11.	 Limiting inmate movement.
	26.	 True.
	12.	 True.
	27.	 True.
	13.	 False. (Managers make this choice based on
their decisions about HOW the facility is to
be operated.)

	28.	 Size and makeup.
	29.	 Classification; philosophy.

	14.	 True.
	30.	 True.
	15.	 Control center.
	31.	 Matter of law.
	16.	 Security perimeter.
	32.	 Federal and state initiatives.

77

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	33.	 True.
	34.	 True.
	35.	 Any of the following: stainless steel toilets/
furniture/washbasins, higher grade window
glazing and frames, sliding steel doors,
lighting fixtures, locking mechanisms.
	36.	 Operate.
	37.	 a. Number and types of inmates.
b. Number and types of programs.
c. Model of supervision.
	38.	 True.
	39.	 Maximum security.
	40.	 True.
	41.	 Any of the following: monthly detention
days served, monthly admissions, monthly
total inmates held, county population projections, forecast assumptions, data samples
based on current jail population.

78

ChapTer 5

Communication

Chapter 5: Communication
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:
	 1.	 (a) Identify deficiencies in various types of written communications, including reports, letters,
and policies and procedures; (b) explain the importance of writing clearly and concisely
and demonstrate the ability to do so; and (c) distinguish between objective and subjective
language in written reports. (See section 5–1.)
	 2.	 List several important aspects of interpersonal communication skills. (See section 5–2.)
	 3.	 List several important elements of interviews conducted during inspections and
investigations. (See section 5–3.)
	 4.	 Identify conflict resolution strategies and appropriate situations in which to use each
strategy. (See section 5–4.)
	 5.	 List several principles and practices for dealing with the media. (See section 5–5.)
	 6.	 Describe the consultant role of the inspector. (See section 5–6.)
	 7.	 Describe the technical assistance role of the inspector. (See section 5–7.)

Chapter 5: Communication

Jail inspectors must develop or expand their
capacity to communicate with a variety of persons in a variety of situations. Inspectors need
to be able to communicate verbally with the
sheriff, jail administrator, correctional officers,
inmates, county officials, and other officials.
Communication styles differ, depending on the
type or purpose of the communication (investigations, testimony, negotiating, media interviews, conflict resolution, etc.).
Inspectors must also be able to communicate
effectively in writing. Much of an inspector’s
legacy is what is written, be it letters, reports,
or suggestions for policies and procedures. The
importance of these documents is underscored
by their potential use—often many years after
they are written—in litigation or as the basis
of planning for a new facility. Inspectors should
know how to write clearly, concisely, and
objectively.
Inspectors use consulting skills almost daily to
identify problems and advise jail staff on what
needs to be done to correct deficiencies. Jail
staff look to the inspector as a technical assistance resource, the one person most likely to
point them toward the solutions to their facility’s
problems.
This chapter focuses on important skills for
communicating in writing and in person. It does
not take the place of professional development
seminars on this topic. Its intent is to highlight
how many of the inspector’s duties require the
ability to communicate clearly.

Section 5–1. Written Communication
Most people will agree that any type of
written communication requires clarity and
conciseness. While nodding in agreement, however, they will go back to the office and write
something like this:
One of the major issues, based upon our
evaluation and that of Albert Sampson
of Pythier County, involves the custody,
security and control of the facility. The
architectural design was a concept
of angles to a considerable degree
which, in addition to being costly and
spatially dysfunctional, exacerbates
the requirement of staff observation of
inmate movement and activity. In addition, the location of the control center
is questionable. Not only is it distantly
separated from the main entrance,
but it poses some problems due to its
proximity to inmate housing areas and
the two level configuration which will
necessitate additional personnel to staff
the post. Another major consideration
involves the need for an override system
in case the control center is ever surrendered, lost or otherwise given over to
the inmate population. The same staffing difficulties present themselves in the
area of the female control center area.
If such control center were positioned
or situationally located in or near to
the corridor rather than the interior of
the structure, it would serve the dual

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

purposes of housing and corridor security. In addition, the need to physically
transport unruly or sick inmates up and
down the stairs and around narrow corridors will pose more security problems.
This written communication, although grammatically correct, is confusing and violates the
principles of clarity and conciseness. It contains
many useless words and phrases, requires more
than one reading to understand the writer’s
point, and is open to misinterpretation. People
may write this way because they think big
words and complex sentences will impress others. That may be the case, but the impression
usually is not favorable, and the writer fails to
achieve the objective of communication: transferring ideas, information, and messages.
Inspectors use many different forms of written
communication. They may write letters, reports,
recommendations, clarifications, and interpretations. They may be asked to assist jail administrators in developing procedures or training
materials. What they write may indeed be
their legacy. In any event, their writing ability
has important legal, historical, and practical
implications.

Basic Rules of Written Communication
Looking at some simple rules that were violated
in the above excerpt is a good way to learn how
to write more effectively.
Rule 1: Keep it simple. Look at the following
words and attempt to define each:
Supererogeration
Superfluidity
Surplusage

82

The three words have similar meanings, but few
people would be able to define them without
turning to a dictionary. It is said that only 3 percent of persons can define supererogation, 10
percent can define superfluity, and 25 percent
can define surplusage. A letter that used the
word “surplusage” would exclude 75 percent of
readers from the message. Surely more people
would get the point if words such as “excess” or
“too much” were used.
Rule 2: Avoid artificial expressions. Often we
use phrases such as “make an attempt” when
we really mean “try,” or “at this point in time”
when we mean “now.” Artificial expressions
may confuse readers or make them have to
read something more than once to decipher the
intent.
Rule 3: Avoid gobbledygook. Say what you
mean and STOP! Instead of referring to a “video
screen with multicolor capability,” say “color
monitor.” Be careful about using correctional
jargon (technical terms such as “sallyport”).
If your audience is experienced in corrections,
such a term may be acceptable. But it may be
gobbledygook to a county commissioner.
Rule 4: Avoid redundancy. Redundancy is saying the same thing twice. Instead of writing “jail
inmate population,” write either “jail population” or “jail inmates.” Instead of saying “architectural design,” say “architecture” or “design.”
Rule 5: The rule of 20 words. Sentences
should be short and to the point—generally 20
words or less. If sentences are too long, people
tend to lose interest and let their minds wander.
The “rule of 20” is really more of a guideline
than a rule. It is not necessary to count the
words in every sentence you write. Be concise,
but do not sacrifice clarity for brevity.

CHAPTER 5: Communication

Rule 6: Construct paragraphs with unity and
coherence. A common pitfall is to include too
many different ideas in one paragraph. To avoid
this pitfall:
l	

Begin the paragraph with a topic sentence
that identifies the subject.

l	

Next, add one or more sentences that
develop the topic.

l	

Then, if necessary, add a concluding
sentence to sum up the point.

If the point of a paragraph is simple, a concluding sentence may not be needed. If the paragraph is complicated or very long, a concluding
sentence can direct the reader’s attention back
to the topic. If the concluding sentence is difficult to write, it may be a sign that the paragraph lacks unity and coherence and should be
rewritten.
The key to applying these basic rules of written communication is a desire to communicate
effectively. The audience should not receive the
wrong message or infer meanings that are not
intended. Nothing suggested above should be
taken to mean that writing has to be simplistic
or should in any way insult or condescend to the
audience. Writers just need to be sensitive and
attentive to the reader and transmit the message
concisely and clearly.
It has been shown that most persons of average
intelligence read at the sixth grade level. Most
magazines and newspapers are written at that
level. The letters, reports, decisions, and recommendations that inspectors write have important
official and legal consequences. Jail administrators should not have to wonder what an inspector really means in a written communication.

Objective and Subjective Language
And in conclusion sheriff, I have never
seen a filthier jail than yours nor a
more slovenly staff. What you need to
do is have a heart to heart talk with that
group or hire some professionals. By the
way, if you want, I will be happy to talk
to the county commissioners about the
incredible goings-on there.
This hypothetical excerpt from an inspector’s
letter is obviously exaggerated. But it illustrates
the importance of using objective rather than
subjective language. What is wrong with subjective language? Several things, including:
l	

It is not constructive.

l	

It makes the inspector seem intemperate.

l	

It suggests that the inspector may have
scores to settle.

l	

It gives the inspector and the sheriff little
maneuvering space.

l	

It creates enemies.

l	

The inspector’s credibility may be lost.

l	

Battle lines may be drawn for present and
future issues.

Many a jail inspector has felt like sending such
a letter, but doing so has too many negative
consequences. Much more can be accomplished
with objective language. After all, the major
purpose of a jail inspection program is to foster
positive change.

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Q&AReview Questions for Section 5–1
	 1.	 Make the following sets of words or phrases
simpler. (Usually, one word will suffice.)
a. Make an effort, make an attempt,
endeavor, attempt:_ __________________
b. Maintain surveillance over, visually
monitor:_ __________________________

	 2.	 Eliminate the redundancies in the following
sentences. (More than one answer may be
correct.)
a. He shouted as he entered the school
building.
b. Later on, the officer subsequently secured
the area.
c. The policies and procedures have been
kept up to date with the times.
d. The inmate insisted with emphasis that he

c. Relate, state, verbalize, articulate:
__________________________________

had no contraband.
e. That event occurs frequently and happens
over and over again.

d. Inform, advise, indicate, communicate
verbally:___________________________
e. Initiate, instigate, commence, inaugurate,
originate:___________________________
f.	 Telephonically contact, contact by
telephone:__________________________
g. Respond, proceed:_ __________________
h. At which time, at which point in time:
__________________________________

f. His writing is redundant as he repeats
himself over and over, as well as iterating
the same thing twice.
	 3.	 Rewrite the following sentences or phrases
to make them more clear and concise.
(More than one answer may be correct.)
a. Telephonically contact the sheriff at his
place of residence.
__________________________________
b. I proceeded to make a visual examination
of the cell block area.
__________________________________

i.	 Request, inquire, query:_______________
c. Proceed to the upstairs area.
j.	 Presently, currently, at the present, at the

__________________________________

present time, at this time, at this point, at
this point in time:____________________

d. Attempt to ascertain his precise direction
of travel.

k.	Prior to, previous to, in advance of:
__________________________________

84

__________________________________

CHAPTER 5: Communication

e. In the near future, I propose a staff visit

c. A clean facility has a positive effect on

of your facility.

morale, and it is essential that a sufficient

__________________________________

number of receptacles are provided for
those who reside in the facility not only for

	 4.	 Rewrite the following sentences observing

sanitation but for control of combustibles.

the “Rule of 20.” (You usually will need to

__________________________________

use more than one sentence. More than one

__________________________________

answer may be correct.)

__________________________________

a. Some juveniles should be transferred to

__________________________________

a close security facility especially those

__________________________________

who pose serious threat to self and others,
those who have established a pattern of

d. Orientation is important as new inmates

absconding, and those youths who have a

should be provided with an understand-

need for protection.

ing of what is expected of them and they

__________________________________

should also be provided with information

__________________________________

which may set their programmatic and

__________________________________

personal expectations.

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________
__________________________________

b. Written procedures for releasing residents

__________________________________

include verification of identity, verifying

__________________________________

release papers, names of person or agency
to who the juvenile is to be released,

	 5.	 Arrange sentences a–f into a well-ordered

giving back personal effects, check to see

paragraph by placing the sentence letters in

that no facility property leaves the facil-

the paragraph outline that follows.

ity, instructions on forwarding mail.

a. Unity involves sticking to the subject and

__________________________________

to the purpose, plus presenting the ideas

__________________________________

as a consistent whole.

__________________________________

b. Similarly, coherence involves both

__________________________________

orderly arrangement and a clear indica-

__________________________________

tion of the relationship between the ideas.
c. Unity implies balance without excess in
one part or lack in another.

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d. This relationship is indicated by
transitional words and phrases.
e. Unity and coherence are essential to
good writing.
f. Unity and coherence, therefore, help to
make writing clear and easy to read.
Topic sentence: _____
Sentences that develop the topic
(arranged in logical sequence):

Section 5–2. Interpersonal Communication
Skills
Interpersonal skills are integral to effective
communication. Inspectors need to fine-tune
their interpersonal communication skills. To the
extent that these skills improve with experience,
so will the inspector’s performance as a consultant and technical assistance provider. What,
then, are some important aspects of interpersonal communication skills?
l	

Positioning. Positioning is the skill of
placing oneself in the best possible position
to see, hear, and listen. Optimum positioning depends on the circumstances and the
setting. In an interview, it means arranging the office in a manner that facilitates
discussion and eliminates barriers between
people. Part of positioning is distancing,
or using space effectively. In a one-onone situation, a distance of 2 to 3 feet is
appropriate. Another part of positioning is
facing squarely. Squaring off in a one-onone interview helps both parties focus their
complete attention on each other (and on the
issues at hand).

l	

Posturing. Posturing is the ability to hold
and use one’s body in a way that shows
strength, confidence, interest, and control.
One aspect of posturing is holding oneself
upright. When seated, one’s shoulders
should be squared, hands positioned comfortably (arms not folded), and feet placed
on the floor. Do not slouch or put your feet
on the desk. Another aspect of posturing
is eliminating distractive behaviors. A
nervous and fidgety interviewer will make
the interviewee feel the same. Do not, for
example, bite your nails, tap your feet, click
a pen, play with a paper clip, or chew gum.
Inclining slightly forward and looking
directly at the other person are powerful

_____, _____, _____, _____
Concluding sentence: _____
	 6.	 Using objective language, rewrite the
excerpt from the inspector’s letter quoted
under “Objective and Subjective Language.”
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
	 7.	 The use of objective language in a report
results in a tone that is__________________
	 8.	 List three reasons why subjective language
should not be used in a report.
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________

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CHAPTER 5: Communication

posturing techniques in one-on-one interviews. These techniques show that the interviewer is focused on the interviewee and in
control of the situation.
l	

l	

Observing. This means being aware of the
other person’s behavior. For example, if the
sheriff is continually looking at the clock,
the interview may have gone too long. (Setting some time limits may be appropriate.)
Signs of nervousness, such as crossed arms,
foot wiggling, etc., may be a cue that the
other person is uncomfortable or is anxious
about some other aspect of the interview.
Listening. Listening is the ability to hear
and understand what others are trying to
express. The message may be clouded in
obscure words, colored by feelings, or indicated by body language. A good listener
puts all the clues together to find out the
real meaning. Most people are not born with
good listening skills. For example, when
confronted by someone who is emotional,
we often interrupt. What we should do is
step back and listen to what the person
is trying to say. This gives the person an
opportunity to open up.

Q&AReview Question for Section 5–2

c. The ability to seek out hidden messages: 	
__________________________________
d. Being attentive to signs of nervousness
on the part of the interviewee:
__________________________________

Section 5–3. Conducting Interviews
Jail inspectors must rely on their interpersonal
communication skills in carrying out many of
their duties. These skills are especially important in conducting interviews during inspections
and investigations.

Inspection Interviews
When assessing a jail’s compliance, the
inspector audits and inspects the facility. An
additional tool commonly used is the interview.
The inspector may interview county officials,
correctional officials, staff, and inmates. Inmates
or staff may be interviewed informally during
the inspection. A more formal interview with the
sheriff or a county commissioner may be held in
an office.
When conducting a formal interview, consider
the following.
l	

Be prepared. Gather all relevant information and develop a list of questions. This
will help to focus the interview on the most
important issues and will save time for both
parties.

l	

Provide for privacy and comfort. To the
extent possible, conduct the interview in
privacy and comfort. People are unlikely to
be forthcoming with information if they feel
others are listening. Comfort involves more
than a good chair. It also includes minimizing phone calls and other interruptions,

	 9.	 Name the interpersonal communication
skills that match the following descriptions:
a. The ability to hold and use one’s body
in a way that shows confidence:
__________________________________
b. Another term for distancing:
__________________________________

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arranging furniture in a way that encourages
open discussion, and establishing a fair and
friendly tone.
l	

Allow enough time. Although the inspector has an agenda for the interview, the
interviewee may well need to discuss other
matters. The inspector should allow time for
such discussions.

l	

Be honest. Inspectors are often asked
questions during an interview. An honest,
forthright answer is most appropriate.
Nonconfidential information may be shared.
Most interviewees will understand that confidential information cannot be shared. But
hiding behind false “confidentiality” is not
being honest.

l	

Be objective. Avoid subjective or intemperate statements. Using objective language
and an objective approach demonstrates
fairness.

l	

Use interpersonal skills. Any jail inspector
can develop good interpersonal skills (see
the tips above).

l	

l	

l	

88

Encourage participation. If the inspector
needs information or assistance in forming
an opinion, the participation of the interviewee is essential.
Close positively. Consider everyone a candidate for another interview. Never “burn
bridges,” especially if you expect to work
with the interviewee in the future.
Be impartial. Fairness demands an impartial atmosphere, so do not take sides. Put
yourself in the place of the person being
interviewed. How would you respond to
someone who is not impartial?

Investigative Interviews
Some jail inspection agencies conduct investigations of complaints from inmates, staff, families
of inmates, etc. An agency may not have that
authority but may informally handle complaints
referred by the offices of the Governor, the
attorney general, or legislators. The interview
techniques discussed below apply to both formal
and informal investigations.
The investigations discussed here do not include
criminal investigations. If the inspection agency
conducts criminal investigations, the principles
and practices of the investigative interview
will differ because of issues such as Miranda
warnings.
The interview is one of the most important parts
of an investigation. As with inspection interviews, the inspector must be prepared for the
investigative interview. This involves reviewing
any written documentation about the situation,
as well as evidence such as weapons, photos,
video or audio tapes, etc.
The principles discussed in the section on
inspection interviews also apply to the
investigative interview, with some additional
considerations:
l	

Timeliness. It is important to conduct the
investigative interview as soon as possible
after learning of the incident.

l	

Privacy. Conduct the interview in a private
office. An informal setting such as a lunchroom is not appropriate. If a private office is
not available in the jail, consider using the
county courthouse.

l	

Note allegations. Begin by informing the
interviewee of the nature of the allegations
and the reason for the interview. Note that

CHAPTER 5: Communication

the purpose of the investigation is to clarify
information and assess to what extent, if
any, standards were violated.
l	

l	

Reasonable time. The interview should not
be unreasonably long. If a lengthy interview
is required, take frequent breaks.
Challenge facts. Allow the interviewee to
challenge facts. If the person was involved
in the incident, let the person present his or
her side of the story.

b. Gain the interviewee’s cooperation by
involving him or her in the interview:
__________________________________
c. Develop a list of questions for the interview:______________________________
d. Have an agenda:_____________________
	12.	 The following statements refer to additional
considerations for conducting an investiga-

l	

l	

Violation of standards. If there was a
violation of standards, allow the person
to explain any mitigating circumstances.
Refusal to cooperate. If the person refuses
to cooperate, note the noncooperation.
Consider notifying the sheriff or jail administrator, who may then order the person to
cooperate.

tive interview. Indicate which consideration
best matches each statement.
a. Beginning the interview process as soon
as possible after the incident:
__________________________________
b. A person’s unwillingness to participate in
the interview:_______________________

When all relevant information has been gathered, it should be reviewed with the inspector’s
supervisor. If there is a violation of standards, a
compliance plan should be developed consistent
with agency policies.

Q&A

Review Questions for Section 5–3

	10.	 When conducting an interview, the jail
inspector must make best use of_ _________
	

_____________________________________________

	11.	 The following statements refer to considerations for conducting an interview. Indicate
which consideration best matches each
statement.
a. Conduct the interview out of “earshot” of

c. Frequent breaks during lengthy
interviews:_ ________________________
d. Allowing interviewees to present their
version of the incident:
__________________________________

Section 5–4. Conflict Resolution
Inspectors often are involved in compliancerelated issues or conflicts. For example, the
sheriff and county commissioners may disagree
about methods for achieving compliance, or the
inspector and jail staff may interpret a standard
differently. A variety of strategies can be applied
to any conflict. The key is to use the most appropriate strategy. This section discusses five examples of conflict resolution styles or strategies.

others:_____________________________

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

l	

l	

l	

l	

90

Avoiding. This is a style of nonconfrontation. Avoiding conflict means the issue is
not addressed. The negative side is that the
issue is unresolved and may simmer and
reappear. However, avoidance may be useful
if an issue is relatively minor and not worth
the lasting effects of confrontation. Avoiding
conflict is also useful when emotions are
high and it would be better to address the
issue when things cool down.
Accommodating. Using this style involves
disregarding one’s own concerns to satisfy
the concerns of others. This can be positive if an issue is not important. However,
if an issue is important, accommodating
can mean giving in without addressing the
underlying causes of the conflict. This can
create hard feelings in future dealings with
the other person.
Competing. This approach involves using
political power, coalition-building, or other
power-oriented techniques to prevail in a
conflict. The problem with this approach is
that it makes enemies and does not really
address the conflict. Someone is seeking to
win, and every time there is a winner there
is a loser. However, when issues are nonnegotiable (e.g., jail life, health, or safety),
this strategy may be appropriate. The
inspector should first try to explain the
issue and use other strategies to resolve
the conflict. If an argument ensues, it may
be necessary to fall back on the power of
the inspector’s position—but only as a last
resort.
Compromising. This strategy resolves
conflict by seeking what is acceptable to
both parties. Compromise may be the best
achievable solution to a conflict, especially
when the division over an issue is severe.
Although this may be the best strategy for

the situation, it fails to explore all sides of
an issue. Compromising basically “splits the
difference” or seeks a quick middle ground.
It will leave some issues unsettled and can
create conflict in the future.
l	

Collaborating. Collaborating is the best of
all worlds. It explores all sides of an issue
with the goal of attaining the best solution.
Collaborating involves learning from others’
insights, confronting issues in a mature way,
exploring differences, and agreeing to disagree while resolving the conflict.

As noted earlier, the key to conflict resolution is
to pick the appropriate strategy or style for each
situation. Unfortunately, many people get stuck
in one style. If it worked in the past, they feel
it will always work. But it is easy to see how a
person who always avoids conflict may fail to
address important issues and probably is “an
easy touch.” Similarly, a person who predominantly uses a competing style probably alienates
the very people whose cooperation is needed
to ensure compliance. Before moving on to the
next questions, think of conflicts you have been
involved in and ask yourself whether you used
the best strategy to resolve them.

Q&AReview Question for Section 5–4
13. Name the conflict resolution styles referred
to in the following statements:
a. This style may not satisfactorily address
everyone’s concerns, but arrives at the
best possible solution for a particular
problem:___________________________

CHAPTER 5: Communication

b. Although appropriate when issues are
nonnegotiable, this approach is (or may
be perceived as) a use of power and
should be a last resort:________________
c. This style confronts issues in a positive
way, attempts to explore all sides, and
requires each side to respect the other’s
right to disagree:_____________________
d. Sometimes this style can be best if the
issue is relatively minor or the time does
not seem right to address the issue:
__________________________________
e. With this style, basic concerns are not
addressed, and the person “giving in”

In corrections, things will go wrong and the
media will demand information. It is best to
admit what went wrong and then explain what
is being done to correct it. The inspector cannot control what is reported but can provide the
information for accurate reporting.
If a matter appears to have legal implications,
the inspector may withhold some information.
In such instances, it is best to explain why this
is being done. These matters generally include:
l	

Pending legal cases.

l	

Speaking for a third party.

l	

Personal information.

l	

Obviously irrelevant questions.

l	

Ongoing investigations.

l	

Pending personnel actions.

l	

Institutional security.

l	

Hypothetical situations.

may have hard feelings:
__________________________________

Section 5–5. Media Relations
Because the public’s image of corrections is
based largely on what is reported in newspapers
and on television, the jail inspector must know
how to present information to the media. In
media interviews, an inspector will not gain
support by saying “no comment” or evading
the issue at hand. Cooperation is essential if
the important issues facing corrections are to
be aired. Inspectors who are committed to
positive change in jails should view the media
as an important tool in “getting the word out”
accurately.
Several rules should govern the inspector’s
dealings with the media. The most important of
these is telling the truth. Lying—giving false
information or telling half-truths—destroys
credibility at the moment and for the future.

In speaking to the media, inspectors should
address issues from the public’s perspective.
Avoid jargon or “bureaucratese.” Use terms the
public will understand. Instead of being unemotional, be human. This will build credibility with
both the public and the media.
Be direct with the media. Do not evade a
reporter’s question. Give the answer if known.
If not, say so, and then get back to the reporter
or find someone who can respond. If not at liberty to respond, say so and explain why or direct
the reporter to someone who can respond.
Never “shoot from the hip.” If uncertain about
a question, use the following statements to buy
time to develop a response:

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

l	

“Let me think for a moment.”

l	

“I’ve never been asked that question
before.”

	17.	 If a matter is sensitive or confidential, it
can be discussed with a reporter “off the
record.”
_____ True _____ False

l	

“I’ll need more information before I can
respond.”

Rather than fearing the media, think of it as a
means of getting a message across to the public. Knowing how to communicate effectively
with the media can help garner support for the
inspection agency and the jails it serves.
In dealing with the media, always remember
one caveat: There is no such thing as off the
record. If it is said, expect it to be printed!

Q&AReview Questions for Section 5–5
	14.	 When interviewed by the media, it is
important to address issues from the
	

______________________by avoiding jargon.

	15.	 One can buy time in dealing with the media
by using statements such as (list three):
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
	16.	 List five circumstances in which an inspector does not have to respond to a reporter’s
question:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
e.___________________________________

92

Section 5–6. The Inspector as a Consultant
This manual often refers to the inspector’s role
as a consultant. A consultant is a problem
identifier and a problem solver. All inspectors
are problem identifiers because of the nature of
their work. Not all are problem solvers. Indeed,
some inspection agencies do not define their
mission as problem solving. But for those that
do, inspectors need to be creative in finding
ways to solve problems.
An inspector is a consultant only when asked
to be one. The jail staff, not the inspector, initiates the process. Therefore, the inspector must
first gain the respect and confidence of the jail
staff. Once credibility has been established, the
inspector will be asked to assist in solving problems. This section offers some guidelines for
being a helpful consultant.
When acting as a consultant, the inspector
should never “own the problem.” It is always
the jail’s problem, but one that the jail staff may
need help in solving. For example, instead of
writing a policy and procedure for complying
with a standard, the consultant should give staff
the information they need and perhaps teach
them how to write policies and procedures. If
the inspector does the writing, then the policy
and procedure are the inspector’s, not the jail’s.
If jail staff do the writing, they have ownership, will be attentive to the requirements of the
policy and procedure, and will be more likely
to incorporate these requirements into the jail’s
operations.

CHAPTER 5: Communication

The inspector acting as a consultant accepts
problems as a matter of course. The inspector
should not make the jail staff feel ignorant or
unusual if they have a problem. Rather, the consultant should encourage the jail staff to take a
positive approach in seeking the best solution to
a problem.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 5–6

A useful approach in consulting is to ask
helpful questions about the nature of the problem, why it occurred, and why it is a problem.
The inspector acting as a consultant should
never jump to conclusions but instead should
carefully diagnose a problem before offering
solutions.

	19.	 It is important for the inspector acting as a

Exploring alternative plans is a good way to
help jail staff choose and implement a solution
that seems most promising. The inspector acting
as a consultant may also assist in developing a
strategy for evaluating the results of the plan.
Finally, when acting as a consultant, the inspector’s attitude is not “How am I going to solve
the problem?” but rather “How can I help the
jail staff solve their problem?”
Jail inspectors who approach their duties fairly
and develop credibility will be seen as problem
identifiers and potential sources of assistance in
solving problems. When this occurs, the inspector has earned the privilege of being a consultant and will be a valuable resource to the jail
staff, the sheriff, and the county commissioners.
However, although the consultant role is clearly
important, the inspector must not allow it to
compromise the main responsibility of determining a jail’s compliance with standards.

	18.	 Two terms that describe the inspector’s role
as a consultant are_ ____________________
and_ ________________________________

consultant to assist an agency by actually
writing policies and procedures if they are
needed to comply with standards.
_____ True _____ False
	20.	 Even if an inspector accepts a consultant
role, it is important not to compromise the
main responsibility of determining compliance with standards.
_____ True _____ False

Section 5–7. The Technical Assistance Role
of the Inspector
The inspector’s role as a consultant is closely
related to another role: providing technical
assistance. Providing technical assistance is
a natural outgrowth of the inspection process.
It can be as simple or informal as referring a
jail that is having a problem with a standard to
another jail that is compliant with that standard.
Or it can be more formal and involve being a
resource to a jail—especially one that is trying,
but failing, to meet standards—in a number of
areas.
Technical assistance is a stated part of the mission for some inspection agencies. In those
agencies, technical assistance is more formalized and involves a variety of activities, including (but not limited to) the following:

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

l	

Providing regular training programs related
to standards compliance.

l	

Providing jail management seminars.

l	

Coordinating and hosting NIC or other professional organizations’ training programs.

l	

Encouraging and sponsoring jail managers’
information networks and helping to develop
listservs for jail managers.

way of creative ideas or solutions to jail problems. As can be seen from the above list, many
types of technical assistance require little or no
funds—just creativity and commitment.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 5–7
	21.	 Technical assistance may be formal or
informal.
_____ True _____ False

l	

l	

Developing and providing a jail standards
compliance management handbook.
Compiling training materials and resource
materials (e.g., suggested forms and inmate
handbooks, sample contracts for food or
health services, sample policies and
procedures).

l	

Acting as a repository or clearinghouse for
information on construction projects.

l	

Coordinating and facilitating approval of
construction projects by all involved state
agencies.

l	

Identifying (but not endorsing) products and
services of vendors in the areas of technology, security and control systems, and video
visitation systems.

l	

Coordinating with other state agencies in
procuring computers and jail management
software for use in developing data that
benefit not only jails but law enforcement
in general.

These are the more common types of formal
technical assistance initiatives in several states.
Such initiatives can be very expensive, depending on the type of assistance provided. However,
concerns about money should not stand in the

94

	22.	 Inspection agencies that have no funds for
technical assistance cannot provide this
kind of assistance to jails.
_____ True _____ False

Conclusion
This chapter has addressed the important
communications-related aspects of the inspector’s job, including written communication,
interpersonal communication skills, interviewing, conflict resolution, consulting, and providing technical assistance. Each of these topics
could be the subject of a separate book or training session. Indeed, each has been the focus of
a lifetime’s study for some people.
A jail inspector’s duties are varied, but the
ability to communicate is a requirement for
effectively carrying out all of those duties. The
material contained in this chapter is just the tip
of the iceberg when it comes to learning how
to communicate effectively in writing and in
person. Inspectors are encouraged to seek out
resources (such as those listed in the following
bibliography) that will help them continue to
improve their communication skills.

CHAPTER 5: Communication

Bibliography
Gladis, Stephen D. 1986. Survival Writing:
Staying Alive on Paper. Dubuque, IA: Kendall
Hunt Publishing Co.
Jenkins, David H. No date. The Helping
Relationship. Leadership pamphlet #7: Supervision and consultation. Washington, DC: Adult
Education Association of the U.S.A., pp. 5–6.
Lantz, Theresa C. No date. Effective Media
Relations for Correctional Administrators.
National Institute of Corrections Training
in Media Relations. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, National Institute of
Corrections.
National Institute of Corrections. No date.
Correctional Supervision Lesson Plans IV
(Interpersonal Communications), VI (Dealing
Effectively With Employees), IX (Discipline and
Grievances). Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, National Institute of Corrections.
Thomas, Kenneth W., and Kilmann, Ralph H.
1988. Conflict Mode Instrument. Santa Clara,
CA: Xicom, Inc.
Waldhorn, Arthur, and Zeiger, Arthur. 1981.
English Made Simple, Revised Edition. Garden
City, NY: Doubleday and Co.

95

CHAPTER 5: Communication

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 5
	 1.	 a. try

	 3.	 More than one answer may be correct.
These are suggested answers:
a. Call the sheriff at home.

b. watch

b. I examined the cell block area.

c. say/tell

c. Go upstairs.

d. tell/speak

d. Try to find out which way he went.

e. begin/start

e. I will visit the facility soon.

f. call/phone

	 4.	 More than one answer may be correct.
These are suggested answers:

g. go
h. then/when
i. ask

a. Some juveniles should be transferred to a
close-security facility. They include those
who pose a serious threat to themselves
and others, have a pattern of absconding,
or need protection.

j. now
k. before
	 2.	 More than one answer may be correct.
These are suggested answers:
a. He shouted as he entered the school.
b. The officer subsequently secured the area.
c. The policies and procedures have been
kept up to date.
d. The inmate insisted that he had no
contraband.
e. That event occurs frequently.
f. His writing is redundant.

b. Written procedures for releasing residents
include: verifying identity and release
papers; identifying the person(s) or agency to whom the juvenile is being released;
returning personal effects; checking that
no facility property is removed; and finding out where to forward mail. (Even
though the sentence in this answer is longer than 20 words, the colon and semicolons break it into easy-to-read parts.)
c. A clean facility has a positive effect on
morale. Providing enough trash receptacles for residents is essential to sanitation
and fire prevention.
d. Orientation is important because new
inmates need to know what is expected
of them. They also need information
that will help them choose programs and
define personal expectations.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	 5.	 Topic sentence: e
Sentences that develop the topic: a, c, b, d
(or c, a, b, d)
Concluding sentence: f
(e) Unity and coherence are essential to
good writing. (a) Unity involves sticking
to the subject and to the purpose, plus presenting the ideas as a consistent whole. (c)
Unity implies balance without excess in one
part or lack in another. (b) Similarly, coherence involves both orderly arrangement
and a clear indication of the relationship
between the ideas. (d) This relationship is
indicated by transitional words and phrases.
(f) Unity and coherence, therefore, help to
make writing clear and easy to read. 	

the sheriff little maneuvering space. It creates enemies. The inspector’s credibility
may be lost. Battle lines may be drawn for
present and future issues.
	 9.	 a. Posturing.
b. Positioning.
c. Listening.
d. Observing.
	10.	 Interpersonal communication skills.
	11.	 a. Provide for privacy.
b. Encourage participation.
c. Be prepared.

	 6.	 The following is just one of many ways the
letter could be rewritten. The point is to tie
the deficiencies to standards and objective
evidence, rather than resorting to emotional,
accusatory language.
Finally, sheriff, the jail needs cleaning.
There was evidence of vermin, and there
was considerable trash and dirt on the
floor. Further, the toilets, washbasins,
and showers have not been cleaned for
some time.

d. Allow enough time. (“Be prepared” also
applies.)
	12.	 a. Timeliness.
b. Refusal to cooperate.
c. Reasonable time.
d. Challenge facts.
	13.	 a. Compromising.

To comply with the sanitation standards,
staff must supervise inmates more
closely. Also, more frequent and effective sanitation inspections are needed.

98

b. Competing.
c. Collaborating.

	 7.	 Constructive.

d. Avoiding.

	 8.	 Any of the following: It is not constructive.
It makes the inspector seem intemperate.
It suggests that the inspector may have
scores to settle. It gives the inspector and

e. Accommodating.
	14.	 Public’s perspective.

CHAPTER 5: Communication

	15.	 a. “Let me think for a moment.”
b. “I’ve never been asked that question
before.”
c. “I’ll need further information before I can
respond.”
	16.	 Any of the following: pending cases, speaking for a third party, personal information,
obviously irrelevant questions, ongoing
investigations, pending personnel actions,
institutional security, hypothetical situations.
	17.	 False. (If it is said, expect it to be printed.)
	18.	 Problem identifier and problem solver.
	19.	 False. (The jail staff should write the policy
and procedure themselves. The inspector
may provide information and writing
guidance or refer staff to another jail for
assistance.)
	20.	 True.
	21.	 True.
	22.	 False. (Many types of technical assistance
can be provided with little or no funds.
All it takes is creativity and commitment.)

99

ChapTer 6

Government Structures
and Processes

Chapter 6: Government Structures and Processes
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:
	 1.	 Define the terms “planning,” “organizing,” “directing,” and “controlling” in the context of
government operations. (See section 6–1.)
	 2.	 Identify the similarities and differences of city, county, state, and federal government
structures. (See section 6–2.)
	 3.	 Describe methods for funding jail renovations or new construction. (See section 6–3.)
	 4.	 Define the term “fiscal year” and explain how the fiscal year may vary from jurisdiction
to jurisdiction. (See section 6–4.)
	 5.	 Identify the various “chains of command” for jails. (See section 6–5.)
	 6.	 Explain differences between prisons and jails. (See section 6–6.)

Chapter 6: Government Structures and Processes

The inspector deals with a variety of governmental agencies. In some states, inspectors have
authority over state prisons, county jails, and
city police lockups. Some even have authority
over community corrections programs (halfway houses) and privately operated facilities.
Inspectors need to be sensitive to the differences
that distinguish not only the various levels
of government they deal with but also the
officials with whom they interact. Each level
of government exercises executive, judicial,
and legislative powers, but the actors at the
various levels differ, and some officials exercise
all three powers.
At all levels, governments control their agencies
by using the fundamental management principles of planning, organizing, directing, and
controlling. A basic understanding of these processes is important for the inspector, especially
when called on to help a jurisdiction solve jailrelated problems.
This chapter discusses government management
practices and presents an overview of government structures (with particular attention to
cities and counties). It then focuses on how jails
function—their funding mechanisms, budget
processes, and chains of command. Finally, the
chapter highlights differences between prisons
and jails.

Section 6–1. Management Functions
The basic functions of management at all
levels of government are planning, organizing,
directing, and controlling. The inspector needs
to be aware of these functions because they
affect a jail’s ability to address any deficiencies
identified in an inspection. Positive change may
take time, as a jail makes plans, develops strategies, directs staff to implement changes, and
ensures that changes are in effect. If the process
is hurried, confusion and chaos may result.
Planning is the process of identifying what
needs to be done. It includes:
l	

Defining goals and objectives.

l	

Identifying problems.

l	

Developing strategies to address solutions.

l	

Developing evaluation methods to ensure
that the actions taken are effective in
addressing the goals, objectives, and
problems.

Organizing is the process of identifying the
resources needed to implement what is planned.
Such resources could include equipment, materials, and personnel. Deficiencies identified in
inspections may have obvious budgetary implications (especially where renovations or staffing
are concerned). In such cases, budgeting is also
part of the organizing process.

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Directing is the process of putting a plan
into effect. It involves implementing the plan
through policies and procedures as well as
training staff on the plan’s implementation. It
requires communicating to staff all the information they need to implement the plan with minimum disruption to the existing routine.
Controlling is the process of ensuring that
planned activities or strategies actually address
the problem identified. It includes establishing
an evaluation strategy (in the planning stage)
and implementing the strategy as part of the
directing process.
A jail must use all of these management functions to correct the deficiencies an inspector
identifies. If the deficiency is minor, the process
may be simple. For example, to change a procedure, a jail administrator may be able to do the
necessary planning, organizing, directing, and
controlling quickly and easily, without outside
help. More complicated problems, however,
may involve many county agencies and may
take a long time to resolve. Inadequate staffing
is one example of a complicated problem.
When staffing levels appear to be the reason
for noncompliance, the solution is not easy.
Standards usually do not require a staffing
analysis or approved levels of staffing. Staffing
deficiencies generally become apparent when a
jail is continually unable to meet standards and
the planning process reveals why. When staffing
deficiencies are identified, several things must
happen:
l	

104

The jail administrator and, ultimately, the
county commissioners must be notified of
the deficiency, and strategies must be developed to convince them that the problem is
insufficient staff.

l	

The administrator and commissioners may
require a personnel study. Here the organizing function comes into play. A staffing
analysis to determine the number and types
of personnel may be needed. It may be necessary to develop a budget request, which
may not be approved until the next year’s
budget cycle.

l	

If funds for additional staff are approved,
the directing process moves on to recruiting,
interviewing, hiring, and training the new
staff.

l	

Then the control process begins, as new
staff are evaluated and their performance is
measured against the standards on which the
jail was found deficient.

If everything proceeds smoothly, the inspector
will see an improvement in the jail’s compliance status. But the overall process may take
considerable time and effort, in part because it
involves multiple entities of county government.
In many counties with staffing deficiencies, the
same process is in play year in and year out.
One reason is that managers often do not know
how to plan, organize, direct, and control. Thus,
the inspector can be an invaluable resource to
the jail administrator and the county by helping
them identify and resolve the problem.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 6–1
	 1.	 It is important for the inspector to be aware
of management functions because they
affect a jail’s ability to respond to noncompliance with standards.
_____ True _____ False

CHAPTER 6: Government Structures and Processes

	 2.	 Identify the following statements as relating

	 5.	 Training staff to implement a new policy

to planning, organizing, directing, or

and procedure involves the

controlling:

____________________________ function

a. Identifying necessary resources such as

of management.

personnel:__________________________
	 6.	 Developing strategies to address noncomplib. Identifying and solving problems:
__________________________________

ance with standards involves the
____________________________ function
of management.

c. Developing goals and objectives:
__________________________________
d. Implementing evaluation strategies:
__________________________________
e. Communicating through written policies
and procedures:
__________________________________
f. 	Ensuring that the plan is carried out as
intended, or helping management identify
needed adjustments:
__________________________________
	 3.	 Regardless of the nature of a problem, the
management functions of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling are necessary
for its solution.
_____ True _____ False
	 4.	 The process of evaluating how well a new
policy and procedure are working is the
____________________________ function
of management.

Section 6–2. Government Structures
Government at all levels has three branches or
functions: executive, judicial, and legislative.
The executive branch is responsible for the dayto-day administration of the unit of government.
The legislative branch enacts the laws around
which the government is structured. The judicial
branch makes decisions when there are questions about how those laws are interpreted.
Although every level of government has executive, judicial, and legislative responsibilities,
these responsibilities take different forms. Because inspectors deal with officials at the city,
county, and state levels, it is important to understand these differences. Inspectors also need to
understand the constitutional and statutory powers of various officials.
City government generally has responsibility
for police lockups or city jails. Most cities are
governed by a mayor (executive branch) and
a city council (legislative branch). The judicial
function in a city includes city courts, which
address ordinances and traffic issues. The executive branch also exercises a judicial function
when the mayor and council delegate certain
semijudicial decisions to boards such as zoning,
housing, and health. In some locales, a city
manager is responsible for the day-to-day

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

functioning of city government. In others, the
mayor may assume this management function.

tive proposes the budget to the county council or
board of commissioners.

Running a city jail is a function of the executive branch. The jail may be a separate department of city government or it may be under the
police department. Lockups are almost always
a function of police departments. City jails and
lockups receive their funds through a budget
proposed by the mayor and approved by the
council.

State and federal governments are generally
structured in much the same way. The legislative
branch takes the form of the general assembly
(state) or Congress (federal), with members
elected from various districts. The executive
branch is governed by the elected Governor
(or the President). The judicial branch consists
of various levels of trial and appellate courts.

County governments are responsible for
most jail operations. Smaller counties generally are governed by a board of county
commissioners, which performs the executive
and legislative functions and, in some instances,
judicial functions. These officials may also
be known as supervisors, freeholders, county
judges, or some other title, but they usually perform the same functions. Larger counties may
be organized like smaller ones, but generally
they have an elected county executive (executive branch) and a county council (legislative
branch). Large counties organized this way
operate much the same as a city. Often a county
manager is employed to handle day-to-day
administration.

Many jail inspectors have contact with county
and city officials almost every day and come to
know these officials. The inspector can have a
major impact on the operation of the jails for
which these officials are responsible. A basic
understanding of how local governments are
organized makes it easier for the inspector to
work with local officials and is especially useful
when officials ask for assistance in correcting
jail deficiencies.

Jails are generally operated through the office
of the sheriff, who receives authority from the
state constitution. The sheriff is an elected official and not responsible to the board of county
commissioners, but the sheriff’s budget is
appropriated by the county board.
Some counties have established their jails as
separate departments responsible to the county
executive or the county commissioners, not
the sheriff. In such cases, the county may also
perform other correctional functions such as
operating community correctional programs or
separate juvenile facilities. In these organizations, the jail administrator or the county execu-

106

Q&AReview Questions for Section 6–2
	 7.	 Indicate whether the following statements
refer to the executive, legislative, or judicial
functions of government:
a. Enactment of laws and ordinances:
__________________________________
b. Day-to-day administration of government:
__________________________________
c. Enforcement of jail standards:
__________________________________
d. Government’s authority in the solution of
disputes:___________________________

CHAPTER 6: Government Structures and Processes

e. Responsibility for jails:
__________________________________
f. Source of authority for jail inspection
programs that are established by statute:
__________________________________
	 8.	 Generally, every level of government has
executive, judicial, and legislative powers.
_____ True _____ False
	 9.	 Indicate in which level of government (city,
county, state, or federal) each of the following officials may be found:
a. Sheriff:_ ___________________________
b. Mayor:_ ___________________________
c. Congressman: _ _____________________

Jail operations are funded primarily through
the operating budget, which is a funding plan
proposed by the executive branch of government (e.g., the county executive) and authorized
through the legislative branch (e.g., the county
council). The plan is based on projections about
the need for and delivery of services. For a jail,
the sheriff or jail manager provides these projections, and the “services” are the safekeeping
of inmates while protecting the public, meeting
constitutional requirements, and observing state
laws and standards.
If facility improvements are needed, funds are
earmarked through a capital outlay budget,
which is usually developed from borrowed
funds. An exception may be repairs or
renovations that cost less than a specified
amount dictated by county or state law. In such
cases, funds may be appropriated through the
operating budget.

d. Commissioner:______________________
e. Executive:__________________________
f. Governor:_ _________________________
g. Judge:_____________________________
h. Manager:___________________________
	10.	 The_________________________________
and_ ________________________________
levels of government are structured much
the same.

Section 6–3. Jail Funding Mechanisms
Knowing about the local government structures
discussed above provides context for understanding how jails are funded. A jail’s ability
to comply with standards depends in part on
the funds available to it. A jail inspector who is
familiar with funding mechanisms will be better
prepared to work with local officials in addressing compliance issues.

State law may provide funds for county jail
improvements required by state standards. In
this case, the county may have to request funds
from the state legislature, which will enact a
special appropriation.
Financing for major renovations or new facilities may take many forms. One is the bond
issue. State law permits counties to issue bonds
to renovate or construct a facility. A bond is a
debt the county owes to those who purchase the
bonds. Bondholders receive regular payments
until the bond is retired (usually at 10, 20, or 30
years).
A county generally needs voter approval to issue
a bond. The amount of the county’s indebtedness from all outstanding bond issues cannot
exceed a specified amount. That amount is
based on the county’s assessed valuation, which
reflects the county’s estimated worth (considering factors such as industry and property value).

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For example, if the assessed valuation is $5
million, that is the maximum for all bond issues
outstanding in any given year. If the county
already has bond issues of $3 million, then it
could borrow $2 million for a new jail, if voters
approve. Some states allow only a certain percentage of the total assessed valuation (e.g., 75
percent) for bonding purposes.
Some state legislatures have enacted laws to
exempt jail construction from a county’s bond
indebtedness. This means that counties can
exceed their debt limit to fund a new jail or
major renovations.
Another way to finance jail construction is
through lease purchase or certificates of
participation. Technically, a lease purchase is
not indebtedness. Therefore, it does not require
voter approval and is not counted against the
county’s assessed valuation.
A lease purchase is an agreement to fund capital
improvements (or purchases of major equipment
such as a fire truck) through the operating budget. To do this, the county creates an authority
(an agency of its government) that can enter
into an agreement with investors. The authority “owns” the facility, and the county leases it
from the authority for a specified period of time,
perhaps 20 years. In the example noted above, if
the county could not issue a bond to build a new
jail because it had already reached its $5 million
debt limit, it could set up an authority to enter
into a lease purchase for the $2 million it needs.
The county would pay for the lease annually
from operating funds generated through sales,
property, and other tax collections.
Funding jail construction is often a highly
emotional issue among voters. They may, for
example, object to the proposed location for the
new facility or to the cost of the facility. Voters
often turn down jail bond issues, leaving county

108

commissioners unable to fund new jail construction. The lease purchase is an alternative, but it
may be seen as an attempt to subvert the voting
process. For this reason, many county commissioners are hesitant to use lease purchase.
Another way to fund jail construction involves
contracting with another jurisdiction to house
its inmates. With this method, an agency such as
the U.S. Marshals Service contributes construction funds in return for a specified number of
beds for its inmates over the length of the contract.
Some counties use a funding approach known
as blending. This simply means combining
multiple methods to fund jail construction or
renovation.
Some states authorize counties to increase their
sales tax rates, generally by 0.5 to 1 percent.
Depending on state law, county commissioners may pass a resolution making the increase
effective without specific voter approval
(although voters can challenge the increase
through an election to repeal or a referendum).
Alternatively, commissioners may submit a tax
increase to the electorate at a primary or general
election.
The additional revenue generated by a sales
tax increase may be restricted for a particular
purpose. When a sales tax increase is used to
fund a jail project, the county usually imposes
the increase, issues general obligation bonds
to finance the construction, and then uses the
revenue generated by the sales tax to retire the
debt. If sufficient revenue is generated, it may
be also used to finance any increase in jail operating costs.

CHAPTER 6: Government Structures and Processes

Q&AReview Questions for Section 6–3
	11.	 An__________________________________
budget funds day-to-day jail functions, and
a ____________________________ budget
funds renovations or new construction.
	12.	 A jail’s operating budget is a_____________
______________ proposed by the executive
branch of government and authorized by the

c. The amount of the lease purchase is
counted against the county’s assessed
valuation.
_____ True _____ False
d. Capital improvements are funded through
the operating budget.
_____ True _____ False
	16.	 “Blending” means ____________________
______________________________

legislative branch.
	17.	 If county officials increase the sales tax to
	13.	 Indicate whether the following statements

fund jail improvements, voters can repeal

about bond issues for jail construction are

the increase through____________________

true or false:

or___________________________________

a. Voter approval is required.
_____ True _____ False

18. When a county increases the sales tax to
fund jail improvements, it purchases general

b. Regular payments are made until the

obligation bonds and uses the sales tax

debt is paid off.

revenues to pay them off.

_____ True _____ False

_____ True _____ False

c. The debt is owed to the state.
_____ True _____ False
	14.	 Assessed valuation is defined as
____________________________________
	15.	 Indicate whether the following statements
about lease purchase are true or false:
a. Voter approval is required.
_____ True _____ False
b. The county establishes an “authority” to
enter into an agreement with investors.
_____ True _____ False

Section 6–4. Fiscal Years and Jail Budget
Processes
A fiscal year refers to a government’s budget
year. A budget year is 12 months and can consist of any 12-month period. The year referred
to is the year in which the fiscal year ends. For
example, fiscal year 2007 may begin in 2006.
Because it ends in 2007, it is referred to as fiscal
year 2007.
The federal government’s fiscal year is from
October 1 to September 30 of the following
year. That means the budget appropriated from
Congress authorizes approved funds to be
expended during that period of time. For most

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

state and local governments, the fiscal year runs
from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.
You will hear that fiscal period referred to in
different ways: fiscal year 2007, fiscal year 07,
fiscal 07, FY 07. When a jail project uses funds
from local, state, and federal sources, fiscal
years can create problems. If each jurisdiction
has a different fiscal year, it can be difficult to
coordinate funds, and the project’s timetable
may be affected.

	20.	 Generally, state governments coordinate

Most jurisdictions require submission of a preliminary budget before the fiscal year begins—
as much as 6 months earlier. The importance
placed on the preliminary budget varies from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Section 6–5. The Chain of Command

It is important for the inspector to understand
each jurisdiction’s budget process, particularly
in regard to budget submittals and approval
dates. The planning process for jail improvements and the development of compliance plans
may depend on these budget cycles. Being
sensitive to budgetary deadlines can help the
inspector build a cooperative relationship with
the jurisdiction.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 6–4
	19.	 Identify the fiscal year from the following
dates:
a. October 1, 1956–September 30, 1957:
__________________________________
b. July 1, 1993–June 30, 1994:
__________________________________
c. January 1, 1997–December 31, 1997:
__________________________________

110

their fiscal year with the federal government’s and use the same dates.
_____ True _____ False
	21.	 Submission of a_ ______________________
may be required many months before the
fiscal year begins.

In addition to understanding the basics of government management and structures, as well as
jail funding mechanisms and budget processes,
the inspector should be aware of the jail’s chain
of command in each jurisdiction. The chain of
command varies, depending largely on the size
and structure of the county government.
Typically, someone is principally in charge of
the jail, even if that person does not have the
title of jail administrator. If the jail is part of
the sheriff’s office, the administrator may report
to the chief deputy or the sheriff. If the jail is
not part of the sheriff’s office, the administrator
may report to a variety of officials, including
county commissioners, the county executive
or county manager, the director of public
safety or director of corrections, or the police
chief. If more than one county uses the jail, the
administrator generally reports to a commission
of officials from all the counties.
The jail inspector should be sensitive to the
chain of command for a number of reasons.
First, the inspector needs to know who, other
than the jail administrator, is responsible for
the jail. A jail administrator may be genuinely
committed to meeting standards but may not
have the budgetary authority to request needed
changes. Further, the jail administrator may not
have the power to effect change in the county.

CHAPTER 6: Government Structures and Processes

Also, there are matters of protocol. The inspector may need to send the inspection report to
someone other than the jail administrator, or
may need to notify various officials when an
inspection is scheduled. The best way not to
“ruffle feathers” is simply to ask the jail administrator who should be kept informed of the
inspector’s activities and who should receive the
original report and copies.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 6–5
	22.	 In a sheriff’s office, the jail administrator
may report directly to the________________
or___________________________________
	23.	 Jail administrators may report to any of the
following officials except:
_____ a. County commissioners.
_____ b. County executive.
_____ c. Director of public safety.
_____ d. Jail inspector.
	24.	 Although a jail administrator may be genuinely interested in improving jail conditions,

Section 6–6. Differences Between Prisons
and Jails
Although prisons and jails have obvious similarities, the differences are significant. Inspectors
who are responsible for both types of facilities
must keep these differences in mind.
Prisons and jails both protect the public through
the safekeeping of inmates, but each has a different mission. State prisons generally hold only
persons convicted of crimes who have been sentenced to more than 1 year of confinement. Jails
generally hold pretrial inmates and short-term
convicted inmates. There are, however, many
exceptions to these generalizations, depending
on state law.
Prisons usually have a variety of programs for
inmates (vocational, educational, counseling,
religious, etc.). Some jails have many of these
programs, but smaller jails generally do not see
reformation or rehabilitation as part of their
mission.
These differences are obvious. Others are more
subtle:
l	

Classification. Most states have different
prisons designated for different levels of
security, which allows classification flexibility. Even many large counties generally
do not have multiple jail facilities, which
means that inmates at all levels of security
classification are housed within the same
facility.

l	

Population. Jail and prison populations
differ dramatically. Jails have a greater mix
of inmates (male and female, misdemeanants and felons, sentenced and pretrial). In
most states, prisons are designated either
for males or females, and all inmates are
generally convicted, usually for felonies.
Although some jails may hold juveniles

other county administrators might need to
be informed of jail problems in order to
effect change.
_____ True _____ False
	25.	 As a matter of protocol, originals of inspection reports should always be sent to the jail
administrator.
_____ True _____ False

111

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

briefly for various reasons, juveniles who
are sentenced to residential placement are
housed in facilities other than prisons.
l	

Programming. Programming is different in
prisons and jails, largely because inmates’
anticipated length of stay is different. In
prisons, for example, exercise and other
out-of-cell time are more likely to be a
part of the daily routine. Medical facilities
and services are more extensive in prisons,
because chronic illnesses must be treated
and many older inmates need geriatric care.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 6–6
	26.	 Jails have a greater mix of types of inmates
than prisons. List three:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
	27.	 Programming in prisons is different from
programming in jails mainly because of
differences in_ ________________________
	28.	 Compared with jails, prisons generally have
more options in classifying inmates.
_____ True _____ False

112

Conclusion
This chapter has attempted to give jail inspectors a broader perspective on the agencies and
officials they encounter in carrying out their
responsibilities. It has outlined some basic management principles found in government and
briefly described governmental structures at the
local, state, and federal levels. The chapter has
focused especially on several important aspects
of jail operations: funding mechanisms, budget
processes, and chains of command. Finally, it
has pointed out some differences between jails
and prisons.
Understanding how jails operate—including
their organizational and fiscal constraints—
enhances the inspector’s credibility. The result
should be more constructive relationships
between the inspector and those responsible for
ensuring that jails comply with standards.

CHAPTER 6: Government Structures and Processes

Bibliography
Allison, D.S. 1996. Accounting Issues and
Practices: A Guide for Smaller Governments.
Chicago, IL: Government Finance Officers
Association.
Bowker, Gary M. 2002. Jail Resource Issues:
What Every Funding Authority Needs To Know.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 017372.
Jacobsen, Victor. 1995. Building Partnerships:
A Systems Approach to Partnerships in
Corrections. Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, National Institute of Corrections. NIC
Accession Numbers 013524.
Martin, Mark. 2002. Budget Guide for Jail
Administrators: Parts I, II, and III. Washington,
DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National
Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Numbers 017626, 017627, 017628.
Powdar, J.C. 1996. The Operating Budget: A
Guide for Smaller Governments. Chicago, IL:
Government Finance Officers Association.
Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D., and Klofas, J. 1998.
Criminal Justice Organizations: Administration
and Management. 2d ed. Belmont, CA: West
Wadsworth Publishing Co.
Strachota, D. 1994. The Best of Governmental
Budgeting: A Guide to Preparing Budget
Documents. Chicago, IL: Government Finance
Officers Association.

113

CHAPTER 6: Government Structures and Processes

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 6

		 d. County. (Can also be a state official, such
as a commissioner of corrections.)

	 1.	 True.

		 e. County.

	 2.	 a.	Organizing.

		 f. State.

		 b.	Planning.

		 g. Any level.

		 c.	Planning.

		 h. City or county.

		 d.	Controlling.

	10.	 State and federal.

		 e.	Directing.

	11.	 Operating; capital.

		 f.	 Controlling.

	12.	 Funding plan.

	 3.	 True.

	13.	 a. True.

	 4.	 Controlling.

		 b. True.

	 5.	 Directing.

		 c. False. (The debt is owed to those who
purchase the bonds.)

	 6.	 Planning.
	 7. 	a. Legislative.
		 b. Executive.
		 c. Executive.

	14.	 The amount a county can be indebted from
all bond issues. (The assessed valuation is
determined by the state assessor based on
estimates of the county’s worth.)
	15.	 a. False. (It does not require voter approval
because it is not indebtedness.)

		 d. Judicial.
		 b. True.
		 e. Executive.
		 f. Legislative.

		 c. False. (It is not counted against assessed
valuation because it is not a debt.)

	 8.	 True.

		 d. True.

	 9.	 a. County.

	16.	 Using a variety of methods to fund capital
improvements.

		 b. City.
	17.	 An election to repeal or a referendum.
		 c. Federal.

115

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	18.	 True.
	19.	 a. FY 57.
		 b. FY 94.
		 c. FY 97.
	20.	 False. (They are not coordinated. The federal fiscal year is October–September, but
most state fiscal years are July–June. This
difference can create problems for local
jurisdictions that are trying to coordinate
state and federal grants.)
	21.	 Preliminary budget.
	22.	 Sheriff or chief deputy.
	23.	 d.
	24.	 True.
	25.	 False. (In some states, the jail inspection
law indicates who receives the report. If
that is not the case, the inspector should be
sensitive to a county’s power structure and
find out who should get the original report
and who should get copies. The simplest
approach is to ask the sheriff or jail administrator.)
	26.	 a. Males/females.
		 b. Pretrial/sentenced.
		 c. Misdemeanants/felons.
	27.	 The anticipated length of stay.
	28.	 True.

116

ChapTer 7

Resources

Chapter 7: Resources
Performance Objectives
After completing this chapter, the student will be able to:
	 1.	 Identify and describe several national resources that provide information, training, and
technical assistance of interest to jail inspectors and administrators. (See section 7–1.)
	 2.	 List four national professional organizations that promulgate standards for
corrections. (See section 7–2.)
	 3.	 List at least six state and local agencies that may provide resources to jails.
(See section 7–3.)
	 4.	 Identify several special interest groups that may provide resources to jails. (See section 7–4.)
	 5.	 Discuss the information available in the Resource Guide for Jail Administrators.
(See section 7–5.)

Chapter 7: Resources

A wise person once said that the intelligent
person is not one who knows everything but
one who knows where to find everything. This
comment has meaning for the jail inspector who
wants to develop and tap resources for providing
advice to jail staff.

and major professional groups with a special
interest in corrections. Web sites for most of
the organizations mentioned in this chapter are
listed at the end of the chapter.

As noted in an earlier chapter, the inspector
often is seen not only as a finder of deficiencies
but as a problem solver—a resource to the jail
and the county. This means that the inspector
must be aware that resources exist and know
where to refer those who need information.
Knowing the available resources makes one
resourceful.

The National Institute of Corrections

Unlike the past, when corrections did not have
standards or even training, today the field has
an abundance of information and resources.
Today’s professionals in the field are quick to
assist their colleagues. To that end, there are
clearinghouses, information centers, college
libraries, and formal and informal networks on
the local, state, and national levels. Correctional
administrators can turn to materials in a variety
of forms: Web sites, listservs, online libraries
and resource centers, printed matter, videotapes,
films, DVDs, and audiotapes.
This chapter is not intended to duplicate the variety of resource banks that already exist. Rather,
it will highlight some of the information resources available to inspectors. The chapter covers
major national resources, prominent resources in
the states, professional standards-setting bodies,

Section 7–1. National Resources
The National Institute of Corrections (NIC)
was created in 1974 to be a center for correctional knowledge and to provide leadership and
assistance to the field of corrections. NIC is
unique as a federal agency because it provides
direct service rather than financial assistance as
the primary means of carrying out its mission.
NIC is organized so that each primary constituent group in adult corrections—jails, prisons,
and community corrections—is represented and
served by an NIC division. These are the Jails
Division and the Community Corrections/
Prisons Division. In addition, the Academy
Division, Offender Workforce Development
Division, and NIC Information Center serve
all adult corrections.
NIC’s Jails Division, Community Corrections/
Prisons Division, Offender Workforce
Development Division, Special Projects Unit,
and administrative offices are located in
Washington, DC. The Academy Division and
the NIC Information Center are located in
Aurora, CO.
All of NIC’s divisions provide technical assistance in their areas of expertise, without cost,

119

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

to all adult corrections agencies in the United
States and its commonwealths and territories.
To request technical assistance specifically
related to jails, prisons, or community corrections, send a written request to the respective
Technical Assistance Manager at the following
address (the Jails Division Technical Assistance
Manager is used here as an example):
National Institute of Corrections
ATTN: Technical Assistance Manager, 	
Jails Division
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Additional information for requesting technical
assistance is available on the NIC Web site at
www.nicic.org.
The Jails Division is the jail inspector’s major
resource. However, if questions arise regarding
prisons or community corrections, the inspector
should contact the other division.
The Jails Division provides technical assistance
in staffing analyses, reviews of written policies
and procedures, planning of and transition to
new facilities, jail design, direct supervision,
classification, inmate behavior management,
and other areas. The Jails Division is a valuable, easily accessible resource. Often, all that
is needed is a letter explaining why assistance
is needed. Jails Division staff will then provide
the assistance or arrange for a technical resource
person to do so. If the assistance requires onsite
work, the Division will pay all expenses for the
resource person.
The Jails Division also publishes guidelines,
manuals, and other printed or electronic materials to assist sheriffs, elected officials, jail officials, and jail inspectors. These materials, which
are available at no cost, are perhaps the best
resource for the jail inspector, as they address
all areas in which technical assistance is usually

120

requested (planning for new construction, budgeting, etc.). Of particular interest to jail inspectors and administrators is NIC’s 2004 Resource
Guide for Jail Administrators, described later
in this chapter.
The Academy Division provides training
programs for all levels of management (e.g.,
executive, senior-level, manager, supervisor) in
corrections. Many of these programs include
managers working in jails, prisons, and community corrections settings. NIC’s training
programs are published each fiscal year in
its annual service plan, Technical Assistance,
Information, and Training for Adult Corrections.
The annual service plan is available on the NIC
Web site at www.nicic.org or by contacting the
NIC Information Center at 800–877–1461.
To request technical assistance related to training and education, send a written request to the
following address:
National Institute of Corrections
ATTN: Technical Assistance Manager,
NIC Academy
791 Chambers Road
Aurora, CO 80011
The NIC Information Center (800–877–1461)
is a clearinghouse of correctional information and materials, both printed and electronic.
Anyone with an interest in corrections may
request information or materials from the
Information Center. The Center maintains a collection of the most current materials available in
corrections and related fields, including unpublished materials developed by federal, state, and
local agencies. Staff with professional expertise
in corrections settings are available to discuss
the specific information needs of practitioners,
researchers, and others. A selection of resources
(printed and/or electronic) is assembled and sent
at no charge.

CHAPTER 7: Resources

National Criminal Justice Reference Service
The National Criminal Justice Reference
Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource
that offers extensive reference and referral
services on criminal justice topics, including
corrections. In addition to electronic and written material, it catalogs videotapes and other
training aids. The NCJRS sponsoring agencies, which include the National Institute of
Corrections, publish hundreds of information
products each year, most of which can be downloaded or ordered through the NCJRS Web site
(www.ncjrs.gov). NCJRS also provides quick
and easy access to information via its electronic
question-and-answer service or by phone. It
publishes a bimonthly catalog, and its biweekly
electronic newsletter (JUSTINFO) provides
e-mail notifications of new publications and
resources matching one’s interests.

Professional Associations
Professional associations can also be useful
resources for jail inspectors. They provide training materials, correspondence courses, books
and reports, DVDs, and videos. They also publish periodical journals with important technical
information, news about innovative programs,
research results, construction techniques, and
advertisements that can help the inspector stay
informed about the latest in jail equipment and
furnishings.
Professional associations sponsor training programs, provide technical assistance, and conduct
annual meetings and conventions for sharing
information. The large national organizations
often have affiliate state organizations (such
as state jail associations), which are important
resources for networking. Inspectors can get
to know other jail professionals through these
organizations.

The three major professional organizations focusing on jails are the American
Correctional Association (ACA), American
Jail Association (AJA), and National Sheriffs’
Association (NSA). (Web sites for these and
other resource organizations mentioned in this
chapter are listed on page 127.)

Q&AReview Questions for Section 7–1
	 1.	 Spell out the names of the following
organizations:
NIC_________________________________
NCJRS_ _____________________________
ACA________________________________
AJA_________________________________
NSA_ _______________________________
	 2.	 The _________________________ is a
federal agency that has published a jail
resource guide.
	 3.	 List the major divisions of the National
Institute of Corrections:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
e.___________________________________
	 4.	 The _________________________ is the
major NIC resource addressing programs,
activities, and technology related to jails.
	 5.	 The NIC Jails Division provides all of the
following services EXCEPT:
_____ a. Technical assistance.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

_____ b. Reviews of written policies
and procedures.
_____ c. Construction of jails.
_____ d. Planning of new facilities.
_____ e. Transition to new facilities.
	 6.	 For training in jail management, a jail
administrator would apply to NIC’s

Of the standards developed by national associations, perhaps the best known are the ACA
standards. ACA publishes several different sets
of standards. Most have been updated or supplemented since their original publication, and
inspectors should be sure to cite the most recent
editions and supplements. The ACA standards
most relevant to the jail inspector address:
l	

Adult local detention facilities.

l	

Adult community residential agencies.

l	

Juvenile detention facilities.

l	

Juvenile community residential facilities.

____________________________________
	 7.	 NIC’s_ ______________________________
is a source of printed and electronic materials on corrections topics.
	 8.	 The_________________________________
is an information clearinghouse sponsored
by several federal agencies, including NIC.
	 9.	 List three national professional organizations that provide resource services in
corrections:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________

Section 7–2. National Standards and
Accreditation Programs
In addition to providing jail-related information
and training resources, some national professional associations promulgate standards and
are, therefore, valuable resources when questions arise as a state develops new standards.
For example, these organizations can explain
why a particular standard should be implemented. Also, they often conduct technical research
to validate standards, and the results of their
studies may be available to inspectors.

122

Standards for lockups are published by the
Commission on Accreditation for Law
Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The publication containing these standards is the Standards
Manual of the Law Enforcement Agency
Accreditation Program.
The National Commission on Correctional
Health Care (NCCHC) publishes the manual
Standards for Health Care in Jails. ACA has
also published health care standards, and the
NCCHC standards are consistent with them.
But the NCCHC manual is more detailed than
the ACA standards and also provides forms for
intake screening, suicide screening, and other
medical procedures. The NCCHC manual also
contains several position statements and suggested protocols for suicide prevention, care and
control of persons with infectious diseases, etc.
The National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA) issues standards for jails and prisons in
its publication titled Life Safety Codes. NFPA
standards are required in renovations or construction of new facilities and are the basis of
fire inspections. NFPA also publishes the Life
Safety Code Handbook, which outlines NFPA

CHAPTER 7: Resources

requirements along with helpful comments for
interpreting the code.
In addition to developing standards, ACA
and NCCHC offer voluntary accreditation
programs. Accreditation through ACA is administered by the Commission on Accreditation
for Corrections (CAC), which is the major
accrediting agency for corrections. NCCHC
administers an accreditation program for
facility health care services. Accreditation
for police lockups is administered through
the Commission on Accreditation for Law
Enforcement Agencies. All accreditation
programs involve costs to the agency seeking
accreditation. These costs include program
administration and “peer review” visits by
auditors to assess compliance with standards.

Q&AReview Questions for Section 7–2
	10.	 Spell out the names of the following
organizations:

	12.	 When citing standards of the American
Correctional Association, inspectors should
be careful to cite the correct______________
and_ ________________________________
	13.	 Name the subjects addressed by the four
ACA manuals of standards that have particular relevance to the jail inspector:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________
d.___________________________________
	14.	 The title of the standards manual published by the National Commission on
Correctional Health Care is______________
____________________________________
	15.	 The title of the publication containing
the National Fire Prevention Association
standards for jails is

		 CALEA______________________________

____________________________________

		 NCCHC_ ____________________________

16. The major accrediting agency for corrections
is the________________________________

		 NFPA_ ______________________________
		 CAC________________________________
	11.	 Name three ways in which professional
organizations that promulgate standards can
be a resource to the jail inspector:
a.___________________________________
b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________

Section 7–3. State and Local Agencies
Many state and local agencies are potential
resources for jails. Often, these agencies would
be eager to assist jails but are unaware that their
assistance is needed or wanted. Indeed, some
jail administrators are reluctant to have their
routines disrupted by people from outside agencies. Although this is understandable, the jail
inspector should emphasize the benefits to be
derived from their involvement.

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Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

A major benefit includes support for correcting
deficiencies noted by these agencies, especially
in the areas of sanitation, health, and fire safety.
Additionally, by involving outside agencies, the
jail will have demonstrated a good faith effort
to improve jail conditions, which may be important in the event of a liability suit.
Because fire safety is a critical issue in jails,
the state fire marshal is an important resource.
Jails often have fire safety problems, and the
fire marshal may be able to assist in developing
practical plans to correct these problems. The
fire marshal can also assist in developing emergency and fire plans. The local fire department
is another useful resource. Most fire departments are interested in reviewing or participating in the development of emergency plans,
having their staff visit or tour the facility, etc.
The health department can offer assistance in
many areas. In small counties, the health department often may provide medical services, or
at least screening for infectious diseases. It will
also inspect the jail’s food service program and
make recommendations. Dietitians are eager
to review menus and suggest substitutions for
more nutritious meals. Sanitation services may
also be available through the health department.
A sanitation engineer may inspect the jail and
help implement recommendations.

or natural disasters. (DHS is also a federal
agency. It coordinates security activities
with all 50 states and with major cities
nationwide.)
l	

Civil Defense and Emergency
Preparedness: Assistance in developing
emergency plans. (These agencies may be
found in states and larger cities. Agency
names vary.)

l	

Police departments: Emergency response
assistance, coordination for mass arrests.

l	

Social services agencies: Counseling for
staff and inmates, augmentation of in-jail
counseling programs and services.

l	

Government auditors: Assistance in
developing inmate accounts and accounting
procedures.

l	

Universities, colleges, and community
colleges: Assistance in training, conducting
studies, or placing students for special
projects.

l	

Office for disabilities: Technical assistance
on architectural and operational barriers to
dealing with inmates with disabilities.

l	

Historical commission: Information on
renovation of historical structures.

l	

Professional associations: Technical
assistance on social, academic, or technical
issues.

Several other state and local agencies can be of
assistance to jails. These include:
l	

l	

124

Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA): Inspection, investigation, and consultation to ensure safety in
the workplace. (OSHA is a federal agency.
Many states have their own occupational
safety and health programs.)
Department of Homeland Security
(DHS): Emergency response for terrorism

States and many larger counties, cities, and
towns maintain Web sites that provide contact
information for these and other agencies that
may be able to offer valuable assistance to jails.

CHAPTER 7: Resources

Q&AReview Questions for Section 7–3
17. Involvement with local resource agencies

establishing jail inspection programs and state
training academies, good time and work release,
and correctional officer benefits and rights.

strates a county’s_ _____________________

Q&AReview Questions for Section 7–4

in improving jail conditions.

	19.	 The _________________________ is a

can produce documentation that demon-

national organization dedicated to address-

18. List three services the local health depart-

ing issues critical to counties.

ment can provide to a jail:
a.___________________________________

	20.	 List three ways in which a state sheriffs’

b.___________________________________

association or jail association can help to

c.___________________________________

improve jails:
a.___________________________________

Section 7–4. Special Interest Groups
Among the special interest groups that can
serve as resources for jails is the National
Association of Counties (NACo), which
addresses issues critical to counties. NACo has
committees whose purpose is to focus on jails.
Members of the organization’s state chapters
may be a resource for jail inspectors.
The League of Women Voters, active at the
national, state, and local levels, has an interest in jail reform, as does the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU).
State professional organizations such as the
state sheriffs’ association and the state jail
association are important vehicles for positive
change. They have an advantage over national
organizations in that they are more readily
accessible to members and attending their conferences is less expensive. State professional
organizations are important for developing
networks of information and support among
jail colleagues. Many state organizations, working through committees, have accomplished
dramatic results in encouraging states to pass
corrections-related legislation, including laws

b.___________________________________
c.___________________________________

Section 7–5. Resource Guide for Jail
Administrators
NIC’s Resource Guide for Jail Administrators,
although geared for jail administrators, is also
important as a supplement to this manual and
as an ongoing resource for jail inspectors. The
Guide addresses all areas of jail administration,
as reflected in its chapter titles:
l	

Role, Purpose, and Characteristics of the
Jail

l	

Jail Administration

l	

Jail Facilities

l	

Jail Staffing and Scheduling

l	

Staff Recruitment, Selection, and Retention

l	

Staff Training

125

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

l	

Jail Security, Safety, and Emergency
Preparedness

Q&AReview Questions for Section 7–5

l	

Inmate Behavior Management

	21.	 NIC’s Resource Guide for Jail

l	

Inmate Discipline and Grievance

l	

Special Management

l	

Inmate Services and Programs

l	

Jail Intake and Release

Administrators includes recommended
resources such as Web sites of national
organizations and descriptions of the
resources they make available.
_____ True _____ False
	22.	 The Guide’s_ _________________________

The Guide’s appendix A presents recommended
resources, including Web sites of national
organizations and descriptions of the resources
they make available. Resource descriptions
also include approximately 40 publications and
videos; of particular interest are NIC materials
related to jails, jail administration, the jail as a
part of county government, jail design, crowding and strategies to address crowding, and
other topics. Appendix B is a bibliography covering all aspects of jail administration. Finally,
appendix C presents 16 assessment checklists
intended to help both new and veteran jail
administrators assess their jail’s operations. The
checklists, which provide information on key
aspects of jail administration, can be valuable to
jail inspectors as well.
The Guide is available at no cost from NIC. It
is a good desk reference for jail inspectors, who
should also make jail administrators aware of its
content and availability.

126

are intended to help both new and veteran
jail administrators assess their jail’s
performance.

Conclusion
This final chapter of Jail Inspection Basics:
An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail
Inspectors has highlighted some of the major
resources for jail inspectors. It is an appropriate
closing for the manual, because the resources
it describes will help inspectors continue their
education long after they complete this course.
Jail inspectors will find these resources invaluable in furthering their own knowledge of the
field. Additionally, in their role as consultants,
inspectors can perform an important service by
making sure that those responsible for local jails
are aware of the resources available to them. As
noted at the beginning of this chapter: Knowing
the available resources makes one resourceful.

CHAPTER 7: Resources

Bibliography
American Correctional Association. 2004.
Performance-Based Standards for Adult Local
Detention Facilities. Alexandria, VA: ACA.
Martin, Mark D., and Rosazza, Thomas A.
2004. Resource Guide for Jail Administrators.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Corrections. NIC Accession
Number 020030.
National Commission on Correctional Health
Care. 2003. Standards for Health Services in
Jails. Chicago, IL: National Commission on
Correctional Health Care.
National Sheriffs’ Association. 1990. Jail
Officers Training Manual. Alexandria, VA:
National Sheriffs’ Association.

Commission on Accreditation for Law
Enforcement Agencies (CALEA):
www.calea.org.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
www.dhs.gov.
League of Women Voters: www.lwv.org.
National Association of Counties (NACo):
www.naco.org.
National Commission on Correctional Health
Care (NCCHC): www.ncchc.org.
National Criminal Justice Reference Service
(NCJRS): www.ncjrs.gov.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
www.nfpa.org.

Web Sites for Resource Organizations
Mentioned in This Chapter

National Institute of Corrections (NIC):
www.nicic.org.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
www.aclu.org.

National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA):
www.sheriffs.org.

American Correctional Association (ACA):
www.aca.org.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA): www.osha.gov.

American Jail Association (AJA):
www.corrections.com/aja.

127

CHAPTER 7: Resources

Q&AAnswer Key for Chapter 7

	10.	 CALEA: Commission on Accreditation for
Law Enforcement Agencies.

	 1.	 NIC: National Institute of Corrections.

		 NCCHC: National Commission on
Correctional Health Care.

		 NCJRS: National Criminal Justice
Reference Service.
		 ACA: American Correctional Association.

		 NFPA: National Fire Protection Association.
		 CAC: Commission on Accreditation for
Corrections.

		 AJA: American Jail Association.
	11.	 a. Helping states develop new standards.
		 NSA: National Sheriffs’ Association.
	 2.	 National Institute of Corrections (NIC).
	 3.	 a. Prison/Community Corrections Division.

		 b. Providing a rationale as to why a particular standard is needed.
		 c. Providing technical assistance related to a
standard.

		 b. Jails Division.
	12.	 Edition and supplement.
		 c. Academy Division.
	13.	 a. Adult local detention facilities.
		 d. NIC Information Center.
		 b. Adult community residential agencies.
		 e. Offender Workforce Development
Division.

		 c. Juvenile detention facilities.

	 4.	 Jails Division.

		 d. Juvenile community residential facilities.

	 5.	 c. Construction of jails.

	14.	 Standards for Health Care in Jails.

	 6.	 Academy Division.

	15.	 Life Safety Codes.

	 7.	 NIC Information Center.

	16.	 Commission on Accreditation for
Corrections (CAC).

	 8.	 National Criminal Justice Reference Service
(NCJRS).
	 9.	 a. American Correctional Association
(ACA).

	17.	 Good faith.
	18.	 a. Medical.
		 b. Food service inspection/dietitian.

		 b. American Jail Association (AJA).
		 c. Sanitation.
		 c. National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA).

129

Jail Inspection basics: An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

	19.	 National Association of Counties (NACo).
	20.	 a. Holding accessible conferences.
		 b. Developing information/support networks
for jail professionals.
		 c. Encouraging passage of jail-related
legislation.
	21.	 True.
	22.	 Assessment checklists.

130

�

User Feedback Form
Please complete and return this form to assist the National Institute of Corrections in assessing the value and
utility of its publications. Detach from the document and mail to:
Publications Feedback
National Institute of Corrections
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
1. What is your general reaction to this document?
______Excellent ______Good ______Average ______Poor ______Useless
2. To what extent do you see the document as being useful in terms of:
Useful

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Providing new or important information
Developing or implementing new programs
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Administering ongoing programs
Providing appropriate liaisons
3. Do you believe that more should be done in this subject area? If so, please specify the types of assistance
needed. ____________________________________________________________________________
4. In what ways could this document be improved? ________________________________________________
5. How did this document come to your attention? ____________________________________________
6. How are you planning to use the information contained in this document? __________________________
7. Please check one item that best describes your affiliation with corrections or criminal justice. If a governmental program, please also indicate the level of government.
_____ Citizen group
_____ College/university
_____ Community corrections
_____ Court
_____ Department of corrections or prison
_____ Jail
_____ Juvenile justice

_____ Legislative body
_____ Parole
_____ Police
_____ Probation
_____ Professional organization
_____ Other government agency
_____ Other (please specify)

8. Optional:
Name: ____________________________________________________________________________
Agency: ____________________________________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________________________
Telephone:__________________________________________________________________________
Jail Inspection Basics:
An Introductory Self-Study Course for Jail Inspectors

National Institute of Corrections
Advisory Board
Collene Thompson Campbell

Colonel David M. Parrish

San Juan Capistrano, CA

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Tampa, FL

Norman A. Carlson
Chisago City, MN

Judge Sheryl A. Ramstad

Michael S. Carona

Minnesota Tax Court
St. Paul, MN

Sheriff, Orange County
Santa Ana, CA

Jack Cowley
Alpha for Prison and Reentry
Tulsa, OK

J. Robert Flores
Administrator
Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, DC

Stanley Glanz
Sheriff, Tulsa County
Tulsa, OK

Wade F. Horn, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services
Washington, DC

Byron Johnson, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Baylor University
Waco, TX

Harley G. Lappin
Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, DC

Edward F. Reilly, Jr.
Chairman
U.S. Parole Commission
Chevy Chase, MD

Judge Barbara J. Rothstein
Director
Federal Judicial Center
Washington, DC

Regina B. Schofield
Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, DC

Reginald A. Wilkinson, Ed.D.
Executive Director
Ohio Business Alliance
Columbus, OH

B. Diane Williams
President
The Safer Foundation
Chicago, IL

 

 

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