How Safe is Your Jail Staff? There IS More You Can Do.

COMPAS Classification   •   An equivant product

How often is your team injured on the job? How often do illnesses and injuries require absences from work? How stressed is your team?

For most jail supervisors, the answer to all three questions is VERY. The National Institute of Justice (2017) reports that correctional officers experience higher rates of nonfatal workplace injuries and absences due to work-related illnesses and injuries than most other professions, topped only by police officers and security guards. Correctional officers also experience high levels of stress and negative mental health outcomes.

Sadly, none of this is surprising. Seasoned COs have seen a lot, and they know how quickly a benign situation can become dangerous. Plus, CO injuries and health issues can spark a vicious cycle: When COs are absent from work, inmate-to-officer ratios can rise, leading to additional risks and stressors.

Keeping jail staff and inmates safe is paramount, but as the NIJ research shows, it’s not easy. We’ve been working with jails around the country for decades, and we’ve found a few best practices can greatly reduce violent incidents and keep everyone safer:

  • Use a classification tool to inform housing decisions. Classification tools provide objective assessments to help you house and separate inmates appropriately. It’s the most consistent and legally defensible way to manage inmate placement.
  • Keep using the tool! Classification tools aren’t meant as one-and-done solutions. Inmates’ risks and needs change, situations change, and it’s important to keep re-assessing to ensure everyone in your jail stays appropriately housed. This is particularly important for specialized populations like youthful offenders, sex offenders, gang leaders, and those with disciplinary problems.
  • Improve communication channels among COs. Centralizing your case management and keeping all relevant inmate information in one place can help you ensure no details are missed from one shift to the next.
  • Keep detailed records, and review them frequently. It sounds hyperbolic, but running reports can save lives. Many jails have hot spots and problem areas that are either going unnoticed or are only recognized anecdotally. When you have the data and analytics tools in place to spot trends and problem areas, you can adjust staffing and procedures appropriately to decrease risk.

A lot depends on the individuals in your jail, both staff and inmates, but you can set them up for safer interactions if you have the right tools and processes in place. You can find everything you need in the Northpointe Suite: inmate classification, decision support, case management, reporting, analytics, and more.

Give us a call today, and let us help you build a safety net for your team.