Welcome to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio
The New Generation Direct Supervision Jail
Jail administrators have joined with architects and psychologists to study the ways correction institutions affect human behavior. The principles they have learned have been applied to new direct supervision jails, the results evaluated and further improvements suggested. This body of knowledge, both in architecture (design), and management (corrections operations and supervision), has produced a new generation "direct supervision" concept.
The idea of direct supervision places the corrections officer in the housing unit with the inmates versus a control room. Below are some of the problems most troubling to jail administrators and how New Generation Jails respond to them.
Inmate Control: CCNO officers "live" with the inmates. For 24 hours a day, an officer is stationed among the inmates, directly controlling privileges, setting standards and providing leadership. Inmates cannot gather in large groups. Any inmate who challenges the officer's authority is immediately removed from the living unit and reclassified to a higher security unit.
Tension and Violence: One of the first things visitors remark on when they tour CCNO is the low level of tension. Fights are quickly broken up because the officers are always in direct contact with the inmates. Weapons are not involved, and even the most thorough shakedowns rarely find them. Gang members are managed and reprisals prevented. Sexual assaults are almost nonexistent. Bathroom and shower areas, notorious danger zones in many jails, are safe because they are constantly supervised.
Noise: Architecture and direct supervision combine to reduce noise dramatically. Solid walls and doors confine noise to individual rooms. In the open areas, carpeting on the floor, acoustical tile on the ceiling and walls, and open space absorb sound. Shouting is neither necessary nor permitted. Inmates are instructed to keep volume levels down.
Staff Morale: The atmosphere of CCNO is designed with the officer in mind. They are encouraged to mix actively with the inmates and are given the authority to solve problems on their own. Officers learn leadership skills that will serve them well and equip them for management roles in the future. The job is more satisfying. Without fear of assault, officers can relax and pay attention to their duties.
Idleness: Inmates go to indoor and outdoor recreation areas at specified times, although they are always under the watch of an officer. Education, libraries, visiting areas and programming are available and supervised by staff. In the day room, there are televisions and may be ping pong tables.
Controlled Movement: All maximum, medium and minimum security inmates can have access to most activities with special escorts. They are constantly observed by staff. Many activities can be carried out within the living unit. Inmates are escorted to programs and services on a specific time schedule.
Information: Officers in units have telephones (some cordless telephones), stenophones, radios and inmate information printouts at their work stations and thus are able to respond more readily to inmates' questions or problems. Case Managers have access to a computerized inmate records system allowing them access to the most commonly requested information: when his next court date is, how much money is in his commissary account, out date, etc. Several courts have case/docket information available on the Internet.
Privileges: CCNO recognizes that minor privileges mean a great deal to people in confinement. Rather than begrudge inmates privileges because of inconvenience, staff use privileges as tools for effective management. Inmates who do not behave lose some or all privileges.
Staff are freed from traditional problems. Multiple collect call telephones are installed in the day rooms, and inmates can use them any time to raise bail or maintain contact with their families. The telephone company can provide restricted service as only collect calls or prepaid calling cards purchased through the offender commissary can be made and blocks can be put on telephones to protect victims or family members upon request.
Battles over control of the television are minimized when there are two sets in most living areas. Commissary problems can be reduced when inmates have weekly access to the store and computers keep track of the money in their accounts. Direct supervision significantly reduces trading, bartering, loan sharking, etc.
Costs: A jail may look expensive to build and maintain, but direct supervision and the regional concept of sharing costs can cost less than a conventional single county or municipal jail. Having one kitchen in one jail versus five kitchens in five jails reduces each member's costs. Carpeting is cheaper to install and maintain than many types of floor tile while serving as a sound buffer in large dayrooms.
CCNO was designed to hold misdemeanants and low level felons. As a result, almost two-thirds of the beds are in a dorm setting versus cells. The economies of scale for a larger jail versus five smaller jails has been much more cost effective, i.e., bulk purchasing.
While having an officer stationed in each housing unit at all times might seem staff-intensive, a direct supervision jail saves staff in other areas. Good design, material selection and sight lines enhance security. Officers do not have to be paired for safety.
Vandalism: Direct supervision jails have required remarkably less maintenance. In the CCNO's 15 years of operation, only two porcelain toilets have needed replacement. The carpet was replaced after ten years of operation. Walls require less frequent painting with less graffiti. Inmates cannot burn cigarette holes in carpets or wooden furniture as CCNO is a non-smoking facility. Peer pressure helps keep the environment in good repair and clean as Officers and inmates both appreciate a clean environment.
Discipline: Inmates who are sent to segregation lose a broad range of privileges that they value. They are provided with constitutional minimums, but they lose freedom of movement and access to telephones, recreation in a gymnasium, television and socialization. They live in an institutional atmosphere, not a normalized dorm setting. Being sent to segregation is seen not as "macho" but rather as "dumb." Inmates are locked down 23 hours a day with one hour out of the cell.
PHILOSOPHY OF NEW GENERATION DIRECT SUPERVISION JAILS
The New Generation approach, based on common-sense principles, seeks to manage human behavior positively, consistently and fairly.
The facility as a whole sends a message. If a jail, in its design and management style, "expects" people to act uncivilized, it will evoke that behavior. If the message is that antisocial behavior is intolerable and inappropriate, the majority will conform to that message. Most inmates want to avoid trouble and will do so if given a chance. The few who seek trouble are separated from the majority.
Correction officers spend more time inside the jail than inmates do, year in and year out. Efforts to make the job less tense and stressful for officers pays off.
Many of the "niceties" provided for the inmates actually benefit the staff more. Television, for instance, is a popular pastime, and two sets reduce conflict over channels. Carpets to reduce noise create a calmer atmosphere for the officers as well as the inmate.
Direct supervision puts the officer in constant contact with the inmates to guide their behavior in positive directions. All barriers between officers and inmates are eliminated in the housing units. It is this philosophy that, more than anything, aids in the safety of CCNO. The facility design aids our response for back up. Back up is provided in seconds versus minutes.
This site was updated on February 28, 2014