This Master Facilities Confinement Study is a systemic criminal justice review commissioned by Montgomery County with the aim of establishing future bedspace requirements for the County’s correctional facilities and pre-release center. While the study fulfills an important requirement for any funding requests from the State of Maryland for future construction of local detention centers, Montgomery County recognizes - and in fact emphasizes - that this study is much more than a means to that end.
Through the means of a comprehensive overview of the County’s Criminal Justice System and its various stakeholders as they currently function, and with past, present and arising trends considered, the project’s major needs assessment component were conducted. Recommendations for further improvements in pre-trial, detention and re-entry services, as well as for community-based alternatives were grounded in available data and evidence-based practices, and resulted from in-depth research and continued communication and collaboration with system practitioners and credentialed experts. These recommendations were made in good faith within the limitations of the data available that are expected to set the stage for the future of the County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, and their impact on the County’s criminal justice operations will span far beyond corrections alone.
To reach its two major goals - conducting a needs assessment resulting in system-wide recommendations, and producing a capital improvement plan to support the seeking of funding for capital projects from the State – the Master Facilities Confinement Study is guided by principles that Montgomery County highlights in its Criminal Justice System. Firstly, jail bedspace demand is not solely a corrections issue; it is a factor affected and defined by the Criminal Justice System at large, as corrections does not function in a vacuum but reflects the outcome of numerous societal components. Additionally, bedspace needs do not stand alone, but must be considered in conjunction with overall offender flow and management. Thus, it follows that bedspace need projections and improvement suggestions must result from coordination and collaboration with numerous criminal justice agencies as well as supportive services and programs, such as those of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Finally, in line with today’s best practices and Montgomery County’s ideology behind criminal justice practices at large, all efforts in the Master Facilities Confinement Study are guided by an underlying philosophy of least restrictive responses to criminal activity, without compromising public safety.