Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Jail Data Collection and Analysis

Jails throughout the United States are reported to be overcrowded, but many sheriffs and jail administrators know very little about how to effectively collect and analyze jail data and present it meaningfully to the public. Without verifiable data and analysis, claims of jail overcrowding become hyperbole.

To assist sheriffs and jail administrators, the US Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, funded the 3rd edition of How to Collect and Analyze Data: A Manual for Sheriffs and Jail Administrators. The 220-page manual was released in July 2007.

If sheriffs and jail administrators expect taxpayers to foot the bill for new jails that meet realistic social and custodial needs of the community, they need to do a much better job of jail data collection, analysis, and presentation. They also need to adopt some form of strategic planning that projects future jail and special custodial needs.


Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Note: Because I failed to enable "comments" when this was first posted, "Anonymous" left the following comment on the post titled "Bribery - How Will I Know? What Should I Do?".

Anonymous said...
Bill, with regard to your latest thread on Jail Data Collection, I was unable to post a comment above. You need to file a public information request requesting the maximum capacity of the Sheriff's work release center up on Dalton Avenue. You need to also ask for public records indicating the occupancy rate of that center, say, for the past 2 years. here what you will find. About 2/3 of that work center is alwyas vacant. why, you may ask. Because the Sheriff has set an exorbitant fee of $30/day for inmates to use the work release center when a judge allows work release to be served as their imposed jail time. That means a defendant must pay $210/week for the "privilege" of work release. All this has been set by a bullying sheriff who constantly whines about jail overcrowding. This means that many defednants who make 8-10/ hr. and are supporting families, cannot support their families, because their entire paycheck goes to the sheriff. This means that if you cannot afford work release, you g sit in the main jail with an orange jumpsuit. On top of that, defednants must pay the first week up front, meaning most don't have it and go serve their time in the main jail. This is not consiswtent with the judges' intnet that they be give work release to keep their jobs and support their families.
I can tell yu that Marc Stewart of the CDA Press would cover such a story and aggrieved families would come out of the woodwork. The Spokesman Review is worthless, and are apologists for the sheriff. Dave Oliveria is also worthless, because Captain Ben wolfinger of KCSD is his new source and Judge Marano's son-in-law. thus the good treatment of an awful judge. Reporter Taryn Brodwater's brother in law is a deputy sheriff.
Good luck, and I hope you pursue this. The defense lawyers in this town are cowards and won't question the practice.

8:36 PM, September 18, 2007
I posted this response to Anonymous's comment:

I apologize for not enabling the "Comments" on my jail data post. It was an oversight. I've enabled comments on it now and have copied your comment to it.

As I recall during the jail expansion meetings, sheriff's personnel touted those fees (pay-to-work) as being real cost-savings for the taxpayers. However, I also recall that as you said, the work release center has a high vacancy rate. When asked why more low-threat prisoners couldn't be housed there, the answer was that the facility was not built to be a true custodial facility. It is not a "hard" structure. That does not address your concern about why more low-threat prisoners could not be housed there. I'm going to email your comments to Shirley Thagard. She and a group of citizens, including at least one judge, are meeting to try and suggest better solutions to the problems at the jail.

I'm also going to forward your comments to the Coeur d'Alene Press. Frankly, I have little confidence that the sheriff's office would respond honestly and completely to an open records request from me. It becomes politically riskier for them to jerk around our local newspaper.

6:58 AM, September 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill. Someone needs to pursue this issue. Hopefully the judge representative on the "committee" also is not a coward. A great percentage of the prisoners at the jail ( not the work release center) are low threat. The work release center should be used. We paid for it. The $30/ day fee is unreasonable. This is a cash cow. Just wait for a prisoner with a lawyer who has guts to file a lawsuit because the sheriff's fee prohibited the just sentence (work release) from being carried out.
Good Luck.

4:11 PM, September 19, 2007  

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