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How is my loved one kept safe?

08/21/2013

How does the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department keep my loved one safe in jail?

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department takes the safety of the inmates entrusted to their care very seriously. The way the Sheriff's Department keeps their inmates safe begins with housing assignment, and concludes with active supervision at the designated housing location. The first part of this equation is called "classification," and the second is called the "Title 15" program.

The department has this to say about classification:

"The primary goal of the Inmate Classification System is to ensure that inmates are classified in a fair and consistent manner while determining inmate assignments (pre-arraignment and post-arraignment) to housing areas, security levels, (medical) treatment, and program services. When determining the inmate's security level, Department personnel shall not discriminate against any individual based on sex, race, color, creed, culture, background, physical or mental handicap, or national origin."

The dedicated staff at PDC North Facility knows that for many inmates, their welfare is directly linked to whether they can pass their time with a job in jail, or not. So while it is important for us to make sure they are assigned the appropriate housing location for their safety, we also want them to be able to work if they want to. This allows them to be productive while they're in our facility.

Officer J. Flanagan works in classification and absolutely concurs with this position. He said: "We assign them to correct work groups according to their prior criminal history and charges." His partner, Officer T. Dalire further reflects his commitment by saying: "We not only assure they are assigned to live in the appropriate housing modules, but that they get approved for the correct jobs."

So how are inmates classified? They are placed into one of three security levels, or are assigned to special housing location. The Sheriff's Department uses maximum, medium, and minimum security levels and defines them like this:

"Maximum Security - Inmates designated as custody levels 8 or 9. Inmates who are assigned to a maximum security level shall be those who have been charged with extremely serious felony crimes and/or have holds or other pending court action considering such types of crimes. In addition, such inmates may be individuals who have displayed a significant disciplinary problem within custody and/or display a need of maximum amount of supervision. Their program participation shall be limited to those programs that are conducted within the security of the facility.

Medium Security - Inmates designated as custody levels 5, 6, or 7. Inmates assigned to the medium security level shall include those sentenced misdemeanants and felons who do not qualify for minimum security and who do not require a higher level of security. In addition, inmates in the facility awaiting trial or sentencing and who do not require a higher level of security shall be placed in medium security. These inmates are eligible for in-house inmate worker consideration and may be allowed to participate in most other in-house programs.

Minimum Security - Inmates designated as custody levels 1, 2, 3, or 4. Those inmates assigned to a minimum security level may be misdemeanants or selected sentenced felons, excepting those who have been convicted of assaultive felony crimes. Inmates so assigned shall have no "holds" or other pending court action against them. Minimum security inmates must display a cooperative attitude toward the staff and the rules and regulations of the facility. Minimum security inmates will be eligible for inmate worker and outside work crew status, work, and educational release.

Special Management Housing - Includes inmates designated as any of the above listed security levels. These inmates have a keep-away status that requires housing separate from general population inmates."

This certainly accounts for the wide variety of jail experiences reported by those who have spent time inside the LA County Sheriff's facilities. But even after being assigned to the proper housing location, how does the custody staff ensure safety inside the jails? We use digital scanners and close circuit monitors to record activity.

The digital scanners keep track of how frequently the deputies make visual inspections of the housing locations, and the video cameras are a deterrent to escape attempts. The Title 15 scanners were used within Custody Operations Division to enhance how regular, intermittent and prescribed direct observation inmate safety checks were being conducted. The data collected is specific to the location of the individual inmates. Since the scanners are connected to a digital tracking program that logs all the activities in a day, all the data from a given housing module is available to supervisors and other regulatory bodies.

This certainly produces a superior level of accountability for all the staff assigned to the safety of their inmates. But again, this is only the blueprint for success. True safety only comes when the hard working and committed staff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department implement both smart housing assignment and diligent safety checks in the assigned facilities.








Contact Information: PDC North Public Information Officer - 661-295-8840, pdcnorthpio@lasd.org












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