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A Standards Journey

It was forty years ago this summer that I began working in local corrections in Alabama.  At that time, there was an emerging concern about lack of standards, guidelines, policies, etc., to guide local jail officials.  This concern, coupled with an absence of formal training, led to a search for solutions.  Prompting that search was the growing amount of litigation against local jails. I remember going into a rural Alabama jail in...

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Sheriff’s Office or Sheriff’s Department?

In early 2011, I was comfortably ensconced in what I believed would be my retirement home. Sitting on a ridge overlooking the Dunnavant Valley in north Alabama, the house location allowed me to look across the valley and view the changing seasons and the abundant wildlife which frequented the property. All was good. And then the telephone rang. My good friend, Randy Seal,the longtime Assessor in Washington Parish, Louisiana, spoke,...

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Safe Sex in Jail

Safe sex is generally defined as a set of practices designed to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, in a jail setting,the definition of safe sex is expanded. Insofar as a jail officer is concerned, “safe sex” is translated “no sex.” Unfortunately, there are too many instances of jail officers being involved sexually with inmates. The outcome is never good, often resulting in...

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Security/Medical Interface

While serving as Commissioner of Corrections, and later as Warden of a large urban jail, I negotiated inmate health care contracts with private providers and then worked closely with those providers as they integrated their services into the overall scheme of corrections. It was always a challenge, especially in the jail setting, to educate both the security staff and the medical provider of the importance of working together as a...

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