Jails are either run by city police or usually the county sheriff: They are for pre-trail detention or sentences one year and under. The history of jails has been plagued by complaints of improper management and poor living conditions
Henry II in 1166 created the first gaol (pronounced jail) for the purpose of holding people awaiting trial or sentencing. Houses of corrections or bridewell houses (named after the Bridewell castle) developed at the same time. Jails were for detention and the house of corrections were for punishment. The responsibility of the jails fell to the shire-reeves (sheriff) and their income came from the fees attached to the operation. Family, friends, inmates paid for their food, bedding, clothing. 1770’s-John Howard notable jail reformer made changes all over UK to system. He ended the practice of paying for services.
The Walnut St Jail-the first jail in the US In 1871 a commission reporting on the Adams County Jail in Illinois reported “ difficult to imagine any place more unfit to confine human beings…dark, damp and extremely filthy”. In 1959 a report was released that stated that of all places that housed criminals jails were the vilest from the standpoint of sanitation, the most absurd from a functional point of view and the most inefficient in administration.
Jails have been referred to as the most important part of the American correctional system. In 2005 there were 748, 000 people detained in jails.
Preventive detention is a pretrial incarceration of an accused person considered to be to dangerous or to commit more crimes if released into the community. The 14 th amendment protects against punishing people who have not yet been convicted of a crime. So then is pretrial detention unconstitutional? The Supreme Court in US v. Salerno (1987) ruled that pre-trial detention is a legitimate way to protect society. Studies have shown that accused murders are least likely to be released on bail followed by robbers.
Some of the consequences of pretrial detention are that over ½ of those housed in jails have not been convicted a crime. Should they be faced with the same conditions as those who are convicted? How would staff treat them differently? Jails are overcrowded with many people not convicted living amongst those who have been. Is this fair? Are the reasons for the use of pretrial detention being applied fairly? Is it based on the availability of paying bail or the types of crimes?
The detention function of the jail is to house inmates who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to one year or less. In some states felons sentenced to state prison are serving their terms at jails because of overcrowding. The jail population is predominantly male although the number of female inmates is increasing each year at a rate higher than males.
Safety and security are the main purposes of jails. The staff and visitor safety is first and yet the safety of the inmates is important and required by law as well. Security means the prevention of escapes and a regular, orderly operation
When you first come to jail it is the back of a patrol car. You are brought in through the sally port. One door opens at a time. One door shuts the next one opens. You are brought to booking where the charges are entered, you are asked a series of questions. You are formally booked, searched, issued clothing. At classification the staff is trying to assess your risk, danger level, gang affiliations, where they should house you and with who.
The jail staff are comprised of the Cos who tend to me be male 66% and female 34%. Black COs nationwide comprise 24% and Hispanic only 8%. It would stand to reason that jails in areas that are predominantly one race or another, as some American cities tend to become divided, the CO race would reflect the resident population demographics. There are also medical staff and educational staff and volunteers. Many jails do not have on staff mental health professionals.
Inmate supervision remains the primary function of jails. What are some of the concerns: Escape Assaults on inmates/staff Property damage Contraband Unsanitary conditions Inmate disregard for rules
New generation jails or second/third generation jails are designed and operated of reducing violent and destructive behavior by inmates. Architectural: linear facilities where cells were next to each on long tiers. This meant there was indirect supervision that occurred when Cos would walk the tier. Podular designs: second generation-podular indirect supervision) third generation-podular direct supervision-cells designed to be viewed by one person looking in all cells at once.