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Direct Supervision Models

NCJ Number
W R Nelson; M O'Toole; B Krauth; C G Whitmore
Date Published
37 pages
This paper traces the development of the podular/direct supervision model for secure adult correctional facilities, defines principles inherent in its design and operation, and discusses barriers to its general acceptance.
The three major categories that describe prisons and jails constructed during the past decade are described: linear/intermittent surveillance, podular/remote surveillance, and podular/direct surveillance. Introduced by the Federal Prison System in 1974, the latter is the most popular model. Institutions following this model have been cost-effective and have had fewer assaults than in traditional jails. Principles underlying the podular/direct supervision model are outlined: effective control, effective supervision, need for competent staff, safety of staff and inmates, manageable and cost-effective operations, effective communication, classification and orientation, and justice and fairness. A survey of barriers to implementation covers local and State officials' negative attitudes and the model's departure from the traditional image of a place of punishment. Implications of the podular/direct surveillance concept for correctional planning are explored. Diagrams, tables, a list of direct supervision facilities, and a cost analysis.