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Conditions of confinement

Since jail crowding is often called the most pressing problem facing criminal justice systems in the U.S., this 3-hour videoconference aims to help jurisdictions develop effective strategies and techniques for managing jail population levels. Issues discussed include:

  • The systemic problem of crowding and the need for effective system-wide policy
  • Decision points in the system that help control crowding
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Long and short term strategies to reduce jail population levels
  • Identifying and developing systemic strategies to handle special populations
  • And learning how to develop a vision for the future and identifying resources.


Alleviating Jail Crowding: A Systemic Approach Cover

This is an excellent paper which "addresses two important but largely neglected questions: How will increased temperatures and heat waves caused by climate change affect prisons, jails, and their staff and inmate populations? And what can correctional departments do to prepare for greater heat and minimize the dangers it poses? … Until now, the implications of climate change for corrections have been largely disregarded by both correctional administrators and public officials working on climate adaptation policy. This paper begins the process of connecting the discussions of climate policy and correctional policy. It provides an overview of the correctional sector and its specific vulnerabilities to heat, explores relevant legal issues, and offers recommendations for adaptation to address unique challenges that climate change poses for corrections" (p. i). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; overview of the correctional sector—jurisdictions and administration, existing facilities, inmate populations, correctional staff population; heat, corrections, and the law—inmate litigation, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, legal action by correctional staff, policies and regulations concerning heat and climate control in corrections, mandated adaptation efforts, and the legal context for adaptation; adaptation challenges and options—the basics of adaptation, special challenges for corrections, and options; and conclusion. An appendix includes examples from various agencies of policies and regulations concerning heat and climate control in corrections.

Heat in US Prisons and Jails: Corrections and the Challenge of Climate Change Cover

The Constitution protects inmates in jails and prisons, and this paper discusses the continuing challenge of deciding what those protections mean in practice and the struggle to assure that inmate rights are met. "Condition cases" have resulted in courts reducing jail populations and have a great impact on facility design and operation and the cost of operating a jail. Legal issues whose impact are primarily operational are also highlighted. The title: Jails and the Constitution: An Overview (#022570) supersedes this title.

Jail Design and Operation and the Constitution: An Overview cover

This publication "reviews the history of correctional law and summarizes the results and effects of major court decisions" (p. 4). Sections comprising this document include: introduction; history of court involvement; corrections and the Constitution in a new century; the Constitution and the physical plant; understanding Section 1983 lawsuits; how courts evaluate claims -- the balancing test; the First Amendment; the Fourth Amendment; the Eighth Amendment -- overview; the 8th Amendment -- use of force; the 8th Amendment -- medical care; the 8th Amendment -- conditions of confinement; the Fourteenth Amendment; consent decrees; some final thoughts; glossary; and selected cases.

Jails and the Constitution: An Overview. Second ed. cover

"Many youth underestimate the addictiveness of nicotine and discount the health effects of tobacco use. Yet almost a third of all young people who become new smokers each year will ultimately die of tobacco-related disease. Juvenile offenders – youth detained or incarcerated in the juvenile justice system – suffer a disproportionately high number of mental health and substance abuse disorders, including tobacco dependency. Given the appeal and prevalence of tobacco use among these high-risk adolescents, the juvenile justice system appears to be one venue where youth could receive the tobacco prevention and cessation aid and support they need" (p. 1). Topics discussed include: the prevalent use of tobacco among youth; why high-risk adolescents are so vulnerable to nicotine addiction; the difficulty in providing tobacco cessation services to justice-involved juveniles; the types of tobacco cessation program that can be used in juvenile justice settings—non-residential or community based placement, non-secure or staff-secured residential placements, and secure placements; and possible methods for reducing the use of tobacco by high-risk youth.

Tobacco in Juvenile Justice Facilities: A Policy Overview Cover
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