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Study of the Current Status of Florida's County Jails

NCJ Number
Date Published
157 pages
This study reviews the condition of Florida's county jails and the impact of court decisions and standards on these jails, and recommendations for dealing with common jail problems are presented.
Although the study did not reveal a typical county jail, the great majority share the common problems of being overcrowded, understaffed, inadequately financed, and unable to comply with State regulations for their operations. Lack of good correctional management aggravates these conditions. All of these problems will be exacerbated by the enforcement of the new (1981) Department of Corrections rules for county detention facilities. These rules are significantly more stringent than the 1976 rules and require a more detailed and exacting inspection process. There must be a reconsideration of State and local funding alternatives to provide the financial base for resolving local jail problems, since jail populations and operating costs continue to increase while the value of local tax revenues decrease. Further, a model policy and procedures manual for local jails should be developed. Alternatives to incarceration and to secure detention should be fully considered by local officials prior to embarking on major jail construction projects. Also, there should be an annual statewide collection and summary of jail costs data from each county for use by State and local decisionmakers. There is a continuing need to summarize data on the impact of the new 1981 jail rules, and a survey of current jail staffing needs is required. Data on salaries for local correctional officers, staff turnover, and the training status of these employees will provide important clues to staffing problems in the jails. Appended are the Jail Inspection Report form and the Jail Inspection Report computer format, as well as the 1976 rules of the Department of Offender Rehabilitation and the 1981 rules of the Department of Corrections bearing upon jails.