Ever wonder what issues jail leaders have to deal with? At recent meeting, jail directors tossed out one or two of their top challenges. I tallied up my notes on what they mentioned.
The themes –
#1 = STAFF ISSUES. As in: facility staffing levels, overtime reduction, recruitment, retention, reliability of staff to do the job as assigned/trained, staff wellness (so they can show up to work), training and development, supervisor development, internal affairs (investigations), an aging workforce, background checks, succession planning, civilian posts in jail, and parity of custody jobs with law enforcement.
#2 = INMATE ISSUES. As in: mental health needs and diversion, crowding/capacity, opioids, co-occurring disorders (mental health and substance abuse together), restricted housing, health care, reentry, workforce education, and special needs: juveniles, detox, homelessness, veterans, pregnancy, hearing impairments.
#3 = EXTERNAL ISSUES. As in: jail funding, community and justice system collaborations, legislation, litigation, consent decrees, ICE, reform, and public records/FOIA.
#4 = SECURITY. As in: contraband, natural disaster and civil disturbance preparedness, use of force, construction, and equipment/technology.
But the best answer may have been from the person who said, “All of it.”