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U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections

Inmate Behavior Management:
The Key to a Safe and Secure Jail

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

Morris L. Thigpen Director Thomas J. Beauclair Deputy Director Virginia A. Hutchinson Chief, Jails Division

National Institute of Corrections www.nicic.gov

Inmate Behavior Management:
The Key to a Safe and Secure Jail
Virginia Hutchinson Kristin Keller Thomas Reid, Ph.D.
August 2009
NIC Accession Number 023882

Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official opinion or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contents

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v Inmate Behavior Management Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Element 1: Assessing Risks and Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Attributes of an Effective Inmate Classification System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Assessment Criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Classification Decisionmaking Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Classification Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Element 2: Assigning Inmates to Housing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Housing Assignment Decision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Housing Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Element 3: Meeting Inmates’ Basic Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Element 4: Defining and Conveying Expectations for Inmate Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Defining Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Conveying Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Incentives To Meet Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Element 5: Supervising Inmates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Physical Plant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Staffing Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Staff Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Staff Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Administrative Commitment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Element 6: Keeping Inmates Productively Occupied . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

iii

Foreword

Jails must maintain a safe and secure environ­ ment to protect their inmates, staff, visitors, and, ultimately, the community. Historically, many jails have struggled to achieve this, as demon­ strated by all-too-common incidents of assault, suicide, fire, and escape. This document presents the management of inmate behavior within the jail as critical to a safe and secure environment. Corrections practitioners have often considered the design and condition of...
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