Webinar presenter Jim Martin answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Keeping Your Detention Facilities Out of the Ditches and on the Right Path. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Who should be involved in the self-assessment, what roles and positions within the jail?
Jim Martin: Ultimately, any self-assessment needs to, at least at the end of it, go up to your sheriff or jail administrator, whoever’s at the top of the pyramid, right? But I would strongly encourage the command staff level. Those who are running the cruise, the areas, you know, it’s so much different from jail to jail for us. Would have been in our jail administrator and our lieutenants on each shift, right? Because they’re going to be the ones that are shepherding this assessment through and they are to some degree decision-makers because they are providing that response to their jail administrator and/or sheriff or anything in between. But the best resources are your first-line supervisors, your sergeants, people who are running the crews, the people who are on the floors, who are hearing. You know, it’s your first line of defense, right? And for you, it might be your corporals, whatever your titles are. And this will be an added little caveat because it wouldn’t be official, but I’m telling you, if you have an inmate worker population if you need to figure out some things, it’s like the old school janitor from high school, right? The janitors always knew what was going on. Talking to your inmate worker population for some insight on things that might not be working out, they’re great resources. I wouldn’t put them on a committee, but I would listen to them.
Audience Question: What do you think about hiring 18 year old says correctional officers, is it too young, and what additional training should we provide to them to help them grow into that position?
Jim Martin: When I first heard the first facility that did this, I was like, “Ah, really?” But I should say, I also said the same thing, when they said, “Hey, let’s put tasers in the jail,” “Let’s do pepper ball in jail,” because, to me, it was like one more tool that can be misused. Now, as it turns out, they’re very effective tools. So, I’m not anti-pepper ball. I’m not anti-taser. I’m not anti-18-year-olds. The second part of that question is, how can we improve it? And I think that teach them anything you can about manipulation by the incarcerated population, because let’s face it, for the most part, not all, but some are very good manipulators. I think teaching them simple things like, you know, social media is not your friend when you’re working in the… you need to keep work away from your social media. Because this generation of 18-year-olds are younger, they’re so social media driven. I think that you know, making sure that you talk to them or discussed that, the challenges of that, and how that could affect their job. And I say that only because I came into a housing unit, one time, and there sat the officer at the desk with his phone out. Now, mind you, phones weren’t allowing the jail. He had his phone out. And all, the incarcerated people in that housing unit were over that magic yellow line that they’re not allowed to cross, looking at pictures on social media from his night out at the bars. Those are the kinds of things. So, you know, anything that you can identify as this person is not mature enough to deal with, teach them how to deal with that. Decision-making skills, how to talk to people, communication, I’ve always been a big advocate for, good tactical communication skills, verbal judo, tactical communications, whatever the case may be. In manipulations, how to keep themselves safe. You know, the things that we as, law enforcement and people who worked at a facility for years, like always making sure that you have an escape route behind you. You never make it a point where you’re at a spot where you can’t get to an exit. Those are the small things that you think they should know, and you think that we teach them well. But when they’re just a little bit younger, you might need to teach them a little bit more. It might be as simple as extending the training to make sure that they’re prepared for it.
Audience Question: Is it realistic to pursue accreditation while we are under a consent decree?
Jim Martin: Yes, that might be the easiest one because you’re probably already doing some of it for the consent decree. I was doing an active role in doing a line-by-line back and forth with the Department of Justice on a consent decree and because it was centered around some of the health services, at no fault of their own, but they were taking information out of the three main health standards folks from NCCHC, one for health services, one for opioid treatment programs, and one for mental health. Now, because there are different editions at different times, some of the standards conflict with each other, but in the consent decree, it just said, do this, do that, do that. Well, it was setting a facility up for failure because you can’t do one without violating the other. So, as we got that cleaned up, it really was looking like things that you would have to do for an accreditation. So, I think it’s very easy to do, because you’re probably already, if you’re organized enough and you’re preparing those things for a monitor of a consent decree, you’re probably already there. So, yeah, just break it down by standard and see what you’re providing for them and see if you can go for it.
Audience Question: Is there a way to realistically estimate the initial and ongoing costs of accreditation, especially in terms of staff time?
Jim Martin: The first part, I was ready to say, “Yeah. You just call them,” and it’s based on the average daily population, and they can tell you what the cost of it will be. And you still can get the cost of accurately those who are being a part of it. I think that now when you’re talking about their time, their time away from their other duties, the time, it’s their salary. It’s not only their salaries or benefits, that’s the intangible. I mean, I’ve seen small facilities that had a team of 2 or 3 and they were the entire accreditation team. I’ve seen facilities that have a correction officer that is their accreditation manager. Well, in that case, you’re just using the manpower for that one per person for all of it and pulling people as they need it. So, the cost for accreditation from any of the accrediting bodies, you should be able to give them an average daily population and they’ll tell you what it’s going to cost. The amount of manpower for your initial accreditation might be a little bit more, only because it’s going to be a heavier lift because you have so many things to look at. But if you maintain, I mean, most accreditation are three-year cycles, and they come back on your three. If you haven’t kept up with what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s going to be harder to catch up when it’s time for them to come back. If you maintain the accreditation lifestyle. If you maintain the records of the meetings, and documentation, all along, it’s very easy. You just open up the folder, say, here’s 2021, here’s 2022, here’s 2023. So, I hope that helped a little bit. If not, feel free to reach out to me, and we can have a private conversation and discuss it a little more.
Audience Question: In your experience, do jail management systems help capture the details necessary for ongoing monitoring of our systems? Or do we need to be prepared to have a separate tracking system?
Jim Martin: If you’re using your JMS system to its full capability, there are many out there. We had a jail management system that spoke to our records management system. So, the RMS system was for the deputies out on the road, and it was for report taking and rest affidavits and things like that. Then the JMS was the correction side of it, right? And then, inevitably, you’ll have the EHR, the electronic health record, that might talk to things. But, in our JMS system, there were, there were abilities in it to track things. There were abilities in it to run reports and we chose not to turn them on so just like my story about the little scanner for the wristbands, we had so many applications that we could have done, and some of it is just reporting. As you’re doing your health assessment or an assessment of your facilities, You’re going to look at the timeliness of care. You got to look at what’s our ADP, on any given day. How many arrests are we having? How many people are getting out with a 72-hour?
All that statistics are in there, and normally, you just have to turn on the functions to be able to capture it. And a lot of it also pertains to which package and that there are a lot out there. Some of them are homemade, and some of them are in a box and you can add things to. If the system that you have does not offer some of those statistical capturing reports, it’s not efficient. You might want to go look for something else, but if it’s in there already, then it’s a great tool, just turn them on.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Keeping Your Detention Facilities Out of the Ditches and on the Right Path.