Category Archives: Corrections

How to Collect and Analyze Data: A Manual for Sheriffs and Jail Administrators, 3rd edition

Source: Gail Elias, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, NIC Accession Number 021826, July 2007

This National Institute of Corrections manual provides guidance on how information affects policy decision making. Topics include good management; data collection; how to locate and capture information; analyzing, interpreting, and sharing information; and getting the most from your information system.

World Prison Population List, Seventh Edition

Source: Roy Walmsley, International Centre for Prison Studies, Kings College London

Key Points:
● More than 9.25 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or as sentenced prisoners. Almost half of these are in the United States (2.19m), China (1.55m plus pre- trial detainees and prisoners in ‘administrative detention’) or Russia (0.87m).
● The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 738 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (611), St Kitts & Nevis (547), U.S. Virgin Is. (521), Turkmenistan (c.489), Belize (487), Cuba (c.487), Palau (478), British Virgin Is. (464), Bermuda (463), Bahamas (462), Cayman Is. (453), American Samoa (446), Belarus (426) and Dominica (419).
● However, more than three fifths of countries (61%) have rates below 150 per 100,000. (The rate in England and Wales – 148 per 100,000 of the national population – is above the mid-point in the World List.)
● Prison population rates vary considerably between different regions of the world, and between different parts of the same continent.
See also:
The International Centre for Prison Studies
A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management
World Female Prison Population List 2006

Correctional Officers: Hiring Requirements and Wages

Source: Corrections Compendium, Vol. 32 no. 3, May/June 2007

In a similar survey Corrections Compendium conducted early in 2004, 43 percent of the respondents in U.S. correctional systems noted that they experienced problems in recruiting qualified candidates for correctional officer positions. The current survey indicated that little has changed. Forty-four U.S. correctional systems and four Canadian systems responded to the survey, with 44 percent of them experiencing problems in recruitment. … The systems were asked to state the wage range paid to their correctional officers at entry level, after the first year of service, and for captains or their equivalent. The minimum starting wage in New Jersey is $45,549. Wages at the top of the entry level category were reported by Wisconsin as $50,759, Colorado as $52,368 and Nevada as $53,390.

Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006

Source: William J. Sabol, Todd D. Minton, and Paige M. Harrison, Bureau of Justice Statistics NCJ 217675, June 2007

Press release
Presents data on prison and jail inmates collected from National Prisoner Statistics counts and the Annual Survey of Jails, 2006. This annual report provides the number of inmates and the overall incarceration rate per 100,000 residents for each State and the Federal system. It offers trends since 2000 and percentage changes in prison populations since midyear and yearend 2005. The midyear report presents the number of prison inmates held in private facilities, the number of prisoners under 18 years of age held by State correctional authorities, and the number of noncitizen prisoners. It includes total numbers for prison and jail inmates by gender, race, and Hispanic origin as well as counts of jail inmates by conviction status and confinement status. The report also provides findings on rated capacity of local jails, percent of capacity occupied, and capacity added.

Highlights include the following:

• On June 30, 2006, an estimated 4.8% of black men were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9% of Hispanic men and 0.7% of white men.

• For the 12 months ending June 30, 2006, State systems reported a larger increase than the Federal system in the number of inmates housed in private prisons.

• Between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006, the number of persons held in local jails increased 2.5% to reach 766,010 inmates, the lowest growth since the 1.6% increase in mid-year 2001.

BJS Report on Medical Causes of Death in State Prisons, 2001-2004

Source: Christopher J. Mumola, Bureau of Justice Statistics Data Brief, NCJ 216340, January 2007

From press release:
The nation’s state prison officials reported that 12,129 inmates died while in custody from 2001 through 2004, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The deaths over this four-year period constituted an annual mortality rate of 250 deaths per 100,000 inmates, which was 19 percent lower than the adult mortality rate in the U.S. general population. Overall, 89 percent of all state prisoner deaths were attributed to medical conditions and 8 percent were due to suicide or homicide. The remainder of deaths were due to alcohol/drug intoxication or accidental injury (1 percent each). A definitive cause of death could not be determined for an additional 1 percent. Two-thirds of inmate deaths from medical conditions involved a problem that was present at the time of admission to prison.

Mental Health Screens for Corrections

Source: Julian Ford and Robert L. Trestman, and Fred Osher, Jack E. Scott, Henry J. Steadman, and Pamela Clark Robbins, National Institute of Justice, NCJ 216152, May 2007

This National Institute of Justice report provides information on two projects designed to create and validate mental health screening instruments that corrections staff can use during intake. Included in the report are questionnaires that accurately identify inmates who require mental health interventions.

Felon Fallout

Source: Alan Greenblatt, Governing, Vol. 20 no. 6, March 2007

Overcrowding and soaring corrections costs are pushing prison reform to the top of states’ policy agendas.

A couple of years ago, the state of California did something surprising. It changed the name of its Department of Corrections, tacking on the words “and Rehabilitation” to the agency’s title. It was a small step — the modification wasn’t accompanied by any sudden surge in funding for rehabilitation programs. But it was symbolically important nonetheless. Thirty years ago, the state officially recast the department’s mission from rehabilitation to incarceration and punishment. Since then, the idea of rehabilitating prisoners has been a much lower priority than locking up more of them. Now, with the state’s prisons bursting at the bars, that may be about to change.

The Long Gray Line: Older Workers and the Correctional Workforce

Source: Joyca Fogg, Charles J. Kehoe, and Timothy O. Kestner, Corrections Today, Vol. 69 no. 1, February 2007

If projections come true, more workers will reach retirement age with fewer younger workers to take their place. One option will be to see older workers as a resource. Many in this age group want to continue to work, but would like less stress, flexible hours, the feeling of making a difference and enjoyment from performing the work. Boredom, nothing to look forward to and no feeling of self-worth drive many boomers back into the workplace.

Avoiding Jail Pays Off

Source: Sarah Steverman and Tara Lubin, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
(subscription required)

Diverting people with mental illnesses out of prison takes commitment from the community along with adequate funding.

Community mental health care can be costly, but it is far cheaper for states than incarceration. It costs around $26 a day to treat someone in a community mental health program, but it can cost more than $65 a day to keep them in jail. And states can tap federal resources to help pay for community mental health services. The vast majority of prison costs, however, falls on the state.

Delinquency Detour

Source: Sarah Hammond, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
(subscription required)

Treating mental illness in young people can keep them from a future of crime and delinquency.

Without treatment, these young people continue in delinquency and often become adult criminals. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that more than three-quarters of the mentally ill offenders in jail had prior offenses. Effective assessment and comprehensive responses to court-involved juveniles with mental health needs is necessary to help break this cycle and provide for healthier young people who are less likely to commit crimes, Cocozza says.