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Jails - Organizational Characteristics, Inspections, And Standards

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The American jail owes its unique organizational characteristics to the fact that no single unit or branch of government has the power, interest, or resources to alter fundamentally a jail's purpose, organization, management, and operation. Local courts and county grand juries are traditionally charged with inspecting jails. In some jurisdictions their visitations and reports are mandatory. In others, they are merely authorized. Since few grand juries or judges consider jail reform their primary function, jail visits are infrequent and perfunctory at best. In some states, visiting citizens' committees, local officials, fire, health and building inspectors share responsibility for inspecting jails.

In a notable effort to move things forward, some states have assumed statutory responsibility for developing standards for local detention and corrections facilities and for inspecting these jails to oversee compliance. Today, over two-thirds of the states have set standards for their local corrections institutions. In over half of those states those standards are mandatory. Since 1977, the American Correctional Association (ACA) has promulgated Standards for Adult Detention Facilities. As such, the Standards serve as the foundation for accreditation activities involving an increasing number of jails all over the country. The ACA Committee on Standards continually reviews and updates its accreditation standards to ensure that they depict the current professional requirements in the field of corrections. As a result, executive, legislative, and judicial branches of local, state, and federal jurisdictions increasingly refer to the standards as the professional benchmark for judging the quality of a detention operation. ACA standards are reinforced by the publication of national standards promulgated by several professional associations, such as the American Bar Association and the National Sheriff 's Association, all of which are actively pursuing jail reform.

Jails - Proposals And Prospects For Jail Reform [next] [back] Jails - Legal Rights Of Jail Inmates

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