May/June 2019 Today Corrections The POOCH PROGRAM p. 28
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American Correctional Association Corrections Today May/June 2019 Vol. 81, No. 3
Deciphering Inmate Communication The critical role of monitoring accurate language translation By John M. Vanyur, Ph.D. and Mohamed Hussein
34 ACA returns to “The Big Easy” for the 2019
Winter Conference By Robert Breckenridge II, Alexander Carrigan and Molly Law
The Comeback By Vanda Seward, Ph.D.
Transforming lives through service dogs
The POOCH program provides a positive life-changing experience for inmates By Robert Breckenridge II
Cover photo istock/Kathryn8
2 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
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From Jim’s Desk
Correctional Chaplain Perspectives
Juvenile Justice News
75 ACA Featured Departments
Welcome New Members
Celebrating Greatness — Awards Nomination Forms
Correctional Health Perspectives
Professional Development Update
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4 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
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Corrections Today May/June 2019 — 5
From Jim’s Desk In memory of Walter B. Ridley nEWS & vIEWS I do not recall the exact date or time I met Walter Ridley. I do recall that he was an assistant Delegates. If either of them was ahead of Walter, he too was accused of
playing the game with him. Walter Ridley went home forever several months ago. I was honored and humbled to be asked by Ghia, his daughter, and Rev. Dr. Ridley, his wife, to speak at his “homegoing.” His service was an uplifting celebration of his life. I told the golf stories. And those that knew him well in his church laughed at my golf stories. I even wrote a poem about his golf game and read it in the church. Rid Man was an E.R. Cass recipi- ent and a corrections professional in every sense of the word. He wasn’t worth a nickel on the golf course, but he sure had fun. I miss playing golf and I sure will miss Rid Man. His humor was unmatched in ACA crowds, his smile was a Rid- ley trademark and his laughter was contagious. Rest in Peace, Walter Ridley, and if there’s golf in Heaven, give the correct score!
cheating. It didn’t matter if the score was legitimate, if you were ahead of Walter, you obviously were cheating. After each hole of play, I usually kept score and would ask Ridley (who I called “Rid Man,” for some unknown reason) what his score was. He never could keep a straight face when he pretended to count using his finger and waving it in the air for each stroke. After his “count” was through it was always 5 or lower, with an occasional 6 to appear “honest.” The fact is we all cheated a little bit, me included. We weren’t playing golf as professionals. We didn’t golf to make money. We golfed to have fun, nothing less and nothing more. None of us kept straight faces when we announced our scores, and it was easy for me because all I did was sim- ply write down the score for myself. Golf was a release for Walter as he had a stressful job as Director of D.C. Corrections. He was always laughing and making fun of everyone
director with Hal Williams in the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. Seems like way back when, when you saw Hal, you saw Walter, or vice versa. During this period I was serving as the Arlington County Sheriff and worked closely with the District gov- ernment. Both Hal and Walter were professional colleagues but were also good friends. Hal passed away several years ago. Walter went full steam ahead until his heart and breathing slowed him down in recent years. Even then, Walter would meet Jeff Washington and me for lunch, carrying a battery pack that helped regulate his heart and his breathing, I think. Walter loved golf, even though he wasn’t very good. But on the golf course, he always accused me of cheating. Several times in a foursome, one of the players was a minister of a local church. Another player was a member of the Virginia House of
6 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
From the Executive Director
There once was a man named Walter On the golf course he never would falter So, he would often amuse To cause others to lose Or change the score card altered One beautiful day On a course far away Stood a foursome of fine human beings The Reverend led by 5 strokes How to joke to cause him to choke By the end of the game The Reverend lost in a shame By laughing and missing 5 holes So, Walter he always would win Shaving the score, he knew was a sin But he didn’t care Cause we wouldn’t dare Wreck happiness over tonic and gin Today he looks down The Sheriff and Reverend just frown For they know that some day On a golf course far away Walter will play winning abound —By Walter’s friend and golf buddy, James A. Gondles Jr., CAE
The following poem was read on March 4, 2019, the day of Walter B. Ridley’s homegoing.
Rose illustration: istock/Mika_48
Corrections Today May/June 2019 — 7
nEWS & vIEWS
Correctional Chaplain Perspectives
The Neutral Zone
By Charles Williams
D ay after day, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, correctional officers report to work in one of the most danger- ous and stressful environments in the world. These professionals work holidays, family birthdays and an- niversaries, and are never guaranteed the ability to go home after their shift due to mandatory overtime and institutional emergencies. The work-related stress that correctional professionals experience is cumula- tive, often resulting in a vast array of personal and professional sacrifice. In 2008 and 2009, correctional officers missed more days away from work than any other state govern- ment employee. 1 The missed days were not due to laziness or an unwill- ingness to report, but simply because of the natural result of working in an environment few people understand. In a study of occupational injuries among U.S. correctional officers from 1999-2008, it was reported that, “In short, correctional officers have a 39 percent higher suicide rate, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates 10 times higher than the general population, a divorce rate that’s 20 percent higher than the national average and heart disease affects us at a rate that is 50 percent higher than any other occupation.” 2
Compounding this picture is the fact that life expectancy of a correctional officer has been reported to be only 59 years compared to 75 years for the national average. 3 While correctional stress and oc- cupational violence takes its toll over the years, what happens at home and in the personal lives of these courageous men and women? Who can they possibly talk to who might understand the complicated life they live? What person, profession or
resource is there available to provide any support or help? Likewise, in this institutionalized setting, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, sometimes for decades, inmates are living under extreme stress. A significant and growing number of inmates have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (CODs) which presents numerous challenges to correctional staff. Unfortunately, due to staff and program shortages, few inmates with CODs receive
8 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
Correctional Chaplain Perspectives
appropriate treatment while incar- cerated. 4 Adding veterans and other special populations to the mix makes treatment in the correctional-living environment tremendously complex. While mental health, addiction services and social workers do their best with the inmate population, who is watching out for the correctional officers? A comprehensive review of the literature regarding correc- tional officer safety and well-being revealed the following three distinct dangers for officers: 5 1. Work-related 2. Institution-related 3. Psycho-social Correctional supervisors and administrators are complying with departmental policy and state law, as well as running an efficient and safe facility. So, how many of them have the time, energy or training to notice how stressed their front-line staff really are? If these supervisors and administrators do notice the stress of their front-line staff, how do they deal with their own internal stress, fa- tigue and mental exhaustion? A large survey of correctional officers was re- cently conducted by the University of California, Berkeley indicates that 29 percent of the officers reported being seriously injured at work, 85 percent had seen someone else seriously injured or killed in the workplace and 50 percent rarely felt safe at work. 6 Chaplains Within the “neutral zone” be- tween staff and inmates, one can see the vital role and work of the correc- tional chaplain. It is easy to miss this consummate professional because they move from one role to another;
from staff counselor to inmate guide; without anyone noticing. How can one person, who is very human, with their own broken places in the heart, and cares so deeply – move so grace- fully in this stressful environment? The correctional chaplain, on average, has a broad educational background with many holding mas- ters and doctoral degrees. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) provides chaplains with the clinical skills to listen empathically to inmates and allow the inmates to know they have been heard and cared about. Also, CPE training allows chaplains to listen just as intently to staff who are suffering from a wide range of stressful circumstances. Chaplains truly live in that neutral zone be- tween inmates and staff, often taken for granted and sometimes misunder- stood by both. Staff sometimes see chaplains as people who “hug a thug,” and because they care about inmates and justice issues, they can be misunderstood. Inmates, likewise, broad educational background with many holding masters and doctoral degrees. The correctional chaplain, on average, has a
see chaplains talking to staff and providing counsel and relief, and sometimes judge the chaplain as untrustworthy or “just staff.” Mean- while, professional correctional chaplains continue to care about and serve both populations with passion and a deep level of care. Like all people involved in the correctional environment, chaplains also need support. Professional sup- port is offered through the American Correctional Chaplains Association (ACCA), an official affiliate of the American Correctional Association. Membership in the ACCA supports the overall mission of a “ministry of presence” and offers an oppor- tunity for correctional chaplains to host regional and national work- shops and conferences. The ACCA subscribes to a strict code of profes- sional ethics and offers three levels of certification. Every correctional administrator in the country should encourage their chaplains to become certified. Certification provides a quality control mechanism and a standard of care for a correctional facility or agency. How do you know your particular chaplain is qualified for the position? How do you know they attended an accredited school? How do you know your chaplains are true professionals who comply with accepted standards of care? Most of the time, you simply do not know because this is such a specialized and professional field of expertise. If providing staff and inmates with the necessary services to make an inmate population calm and staff a bit safer is important, certification with the ACCA is essential. ACCA cer- tification ensures a chaplain’s work will be held to the highest ethical and
Corrections Today May/June 2019 — 9
nEWS & vIEWS
and staff, ministering to all in need. However, why not use this incredible resource to become an integral part of your leadership team? You will not find a more loyal or committed staff member than your professional correctional chaplain. Endnotes 1 Konda, S., Reichard, A.A. & Tiesman, H.M. 2012). Occupational Injuries among U.S. Correctional Officers, 1999-2008. Journal of Safety Research , 43 (3), 181-186. Retrieved from https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562411/ pdf/nihms716793.pdf 2 Dawe, B. (2018). PTSD, Depression, Suicide & Divorce are Highest Among Correctional Officers. Spokane, WA: armorupnow. Retrieved from https://armorupnow.org/2018/05/21/ptsd- depression-suicide-divorce-are-highest-among- correctional-officers/#_ftn1 3 Cheek, F. & Miller, M.D.S. (1982). Reducing Staff and Inmate Stress. Corrections Today , 44(5): 72-76. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/ publications/abstract.aspx?ID=85591 4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Screening and Assessment of Co-occurring Disorders in the Justice System. HHS Publication No. (SMA)-15-4930. Rockville, MD: Author. Retrieved from https://store.samhsa. gov/system/files/sma15-4930.pdf 5 Ferdik, F.V. & Smith, H.P. (2017). Correctional Officer Safety and Wellness Literature Synthesis . Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ nij/250484.pdf 6 Council of State Governments Justice Center. (2019). Berkeley Study Shines Light on the Pressures of Being a Corrections Officer. New York, NY: Staff. Retrieved from https://csgjustice- center.org/nrrc/posts/berkeley-study-shines-light- on-the-pressures-of-being-a-corrections-officer/ Rev. Dr. Charles F. Williams is the director of Religious Services for the Connecticut Department of Correction. He has 17 years of experience working in the Department of Corrections and 28 years of experience of working as a pastor. Dr. Williams is certified with ACA and the ACCA, has four units of CPE and earned his doctorate developing a program on spirituality and addiction recovery in prison.
professional standards. The clini- cally certified chaplain has proven to have the highest level of professional development, typically consisting of seven or more years of college, four units of CPE, proven competencies in clinical practice and endorsement from the highest caliber national agencies. Accordingly, a chaplain can provide incredible care to correc- tional staff and inmates and remain healthy and stable in their own life. Staff health and wellness is becoming a more common theme at national and regional ACA confer- ences. It is easy, therefore, to think that once we focus on a particular problem and develop some new, helpful programs for correctional staff, the task is accomplished. Yet statistics bear out the harsh reality that correctional staff are living with deep internal struggles and high mor- bidity and mortality rates that impact their families and communities. Many reading this article have a chaplain they can talk to. Un- fortunately, some do not have a professionally-trained chaplain
simply because an agency may not see the need, value or importance of certified chaplains as an essential staff member on their team. Some fa- cilities may instead have a volunteer chaplain, or a paid chaplain with no training for the complex world they live and work in. The chaplains in the ACCA are available to help build a team of trusted professionals in any facility, state or agency. No chaplain should be hired without tested professional accomplishments and qualifications. In health care, chaplains cannot be hired without professional ac- complishments and qualifications, typically including a masters de- gree and four units of CPE. For some reason, in our highly complex profession, we do not demand the same time-tested qualifications and often do not use chaplains to the best correctional standards and practices that can lead to better staff health and wellness, decreased inmate unrest and more efficiently run facilities. Chaplains will continue to work in that neutral zone between inmates
10 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
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nEWS & vIEWS
Juvenile Justice News
Using space well By Michael Dempsey and Jennifer Lutz
they begin by changing policies, or by providing more training on de- escalation and other alternatives? How can they overcome concerns from staff? What data should they
monitor most carefully to see if changes are working? How have superintendents and staff in other juvenile justice facilities answered these questions?
Walking into the facility, there was a distinct feeling of uneasiness in the air and the youth and staff were visibly tense. The atmosphere was ag- gressive, hostile and violent. This was recipe for disaster, as our facilities continued to be plagued with rising numbers of acts of violence and seclu- sion. Something just wasn’t working. That’s when I realized we needed to change the way we were operating secure juvenile facilities, and the fun- damental relationships between youth and staff. It had to begin with how we were using room confinement. 1 R educing room confinement for young people continues to be one of the most com- plex and challenging tasks facing correctional professionals. While re- forms in several states and a growing national awareness about the issue have spurred administrators and staff to re-examine traditional beliefs about room confinement, there is no quick or easy recipe for changing the practice. Many administrators and staff recognize that putting young people in room confinement isn’t an effective solution, but they need more information about what to do instead. What strategies will be the most effective to reduce room confinement in their facility? Should
12 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
Juvenile Justice News
In May 2019, the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign will release a tool to help answer these questions. A new report, “Not in Isolation: How to Reduce Room Confinement While Increasing Safety in Youth Fa- cilities,” tells the stories of how four jurisdictions successfully reduced room confinement. Stop Solitary for Kids is a national campaign to end solitary confinement for young people led by four national juvenile justice organizations: The Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University and the Justice Policy Institute. Why reduce room confinement Over the past decade, the juve- nile justice system has undergone major philosophical and structural changes. Detention and corrections professionals have shifted away from models designed to exert maximum control over the behavior of young people through punishment and force. Instead, best practices call for evidence-based and trauma- responsive approaches to hold young people accountable while helping them change their behavior. We now recognize that even young people who commit serious offenses can be effectively rehabilitated. Despite these significant advances in how correctional and court systems han- dle young people, staff in juvenile facilities still face the difficult task of working with troubled adolescents, many of whom suffer from mental illness, trauma, abuse and serious emotional and behavioral problems. For decades, staff in juvenile fa- cilities relied on room confinement to
violent. Some youth explained that, when they knew staff would respond to them with physical force and room confinement, the youth escalated their own behavior to protect them- selves. In other words, attempts to control behavior with increasingly restrictive responses only made the problems worse. Increasing pressure on facilities to reduce room confinement Now more than ever, room con- finement is a critical issue for facility superintendents, agency admin- istrators and staff. In the past few years, room confinement has been catapulted into the national spotlight due to a convergence of mainstream media attention, litigation, policy developments and investigative re- ports from advocates. As awareness about room confinement in juve- nile facilities grows, so will public scrutiny and legal jeopardy for state and local facilities that continue the practice unchecked. Federal courts breed a culture of mistrust and violence in the facility that hurts everyone. Misplaced reliance on room confinement can
control youth. When a resident broke the rules, refused to comply with directions or acted out, locking him or her in a room seemed like a rea- sonable and effective way to address the problem. Many staff thought that the threat of room confinement as punishment would “get kids’ at- tention” and change their behavior. Unfortunately, research and experi- ence show that these beliefs aren’t true. The perceived quick benefits of room confinement obscure the fact that it doesn’t solve any problems: room confinement is not an effec- tive deterrent, doesn’t equip youth with skills to behave differently in the future and doesn’t make them more likely to trust the behavior management system or staff. In fact, misplaced reliance on room confine- ment can breed a culture of mistrust and violence in the facility that hurts everyone. Research shows a clear link between room confinement and suicide, especially for young people. 2 In many facilities, high rates of room confinement are also associated with chronic staffing shortages, regular mandatory overtime, frequent staff turnover and high rates of assaults and injuries to staff and youth. 3 For example, the Indiana De- partment of Corrections previously used emergency response teams to respond to youth who refused to fol- low orders or who became agitated or aggressive. Four to six officers armed with riot gear, shields and chemical agents rushed in to neutral- ize the disruption through whatever force deemed necessary. Eventually, staff realized that when they called or threatened to call the emergency response team, youth would become more aggressive, noncompliant and
Corrections Today May/June 2019 — 13
nEWS & vIEWS
in New York, Washington, Tennessee and Wisconsin have entered orders against facilities for putting young people in room confinement. Federal litigation has resulted in state agen- cies and county facilities paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlement agreements and attorney fees. 4 Legislation in California, Colo- rado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Seattle and Washington D.C. has limited the use of room confine- ment in juvenile facilities. Several other states, including Florida, New Mexico and Nebraska, are currently considering similar legislation. 5 In December 2018, Congress passed two bipartisan federal laws that will affect the use of room confinement: the First Step Act and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). 6,7 In keeping with the recommendations of juvenile justice, mental health and medical experts, the First Step Act prohibits facilities that house youth in federal custody from using room confine- ment as punishment and permits room confinement only when youth behavior poses a risk of immediate physical harm that cannot other- wise be de-escalated. Youth must be released as soon as they are calm, and always within three hours. Although it applies only to youth in federal custody, the First Step Act sets an im- portant example for state legislation by establishing the definition of room confinement for juveniles as “the involuntary placement of a covered juvenile alone in a cell, room or other area for any reason.” 8 The JJDPA reauthorization bill, or H.R. 6964, incentivizes states to implement similar reforms. The act now requires states to provide data on
confinement for youth including prohibiting its use as punishment or discipline. 9 In 2017, ACA introduced new proposed standards on the use of restrictive housing for juveniles. The standards permit isolation only as an immediate response to disruptive behavior that threatens the safety and security of the youth or others, never as discipline or punishment. 10 In 2014, leaders of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) identified reducing room confinement as a key issue on which the organization should provide information to the field. CJCA is the largest membership organization for youth correctional administrators in state juvenile corrections systems in the United States. In 2015, CJCA published an online toolkit, “Reduc- ing the Use of Isolation,” as a guide for correctional professionals on key strategies to reduce room confine- ment. 11 CJCA’s position is that room confinement should be used only to protect youth from harming them- selves or others and if used, should be for a short period and supervised. 12 CJCA also published several policy briefs and a multi-year technical assistance program for facilities on reducing room confinement. Several state and local jurisdic- tions have successfully reduced room confinement. The Colorado Division of Youth Services, for example, decreased isolation by 68 percent from October 2016 to July 2018. Youth-on-staff assaults are also down 22 percent. 13 After routinely using room confinement for over 22 hours per day, the Shelby County Juvenile Detention Facility in Memphis virtually eliminated the use of room confinement by setting
the use of isolation in juvenile facili- ties. It also requires states to describe how they will reduce isolation and other dangerous practices through policies, procedures and training in juvenile facilities. Finally, the act re- quires federal training and technical assistance to support these goals. Success is within reach As developments in legislation, litigation and other strategies call for reforms for the use of room confine- ment in youth facilities, most of the responsibility for implementing those reforms falls to state and local facilities. Staff members in juvenile justice facilities are on the front lines in the changing landscape of room confinement practices. Fortunately, national organiza- tions for juvenile detention and correctional professionals have addressed the issue of room confine- ment. The National Partnership for Juvenile Services, in 2014, and the National Commission on Correc- tional Health Care, in 2016, adopted positions in favor of limiting room Staff members in juvenile justice facilities are on the front lines in the changing landscape of room confinement practices.
14 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
Juvenile Justice News
confinement to be no longer than 59 minutes. Following federal litigation and subsequent reforms, the Ohio Department of Youth Services was able to end the majority of incidents of room confinement within four hours. Between 2014 and 2015, the agency reduced room confinement by 89 percent and acts of violence by 22 percent. 14 The Oregon Youth Authority also lowered the number of times isolation was used from 370 instances in July 2016 to 140 instances in December 2018. 15 A new resource on how to reduce room confinement Along with guidance from CJCA, the experiences of places like the ones described above have greatly increased understanding about an ar- ray of different strategies for juvenile facilities to safely reduce room con- finement. Strategies that have proven effective include: –– Establishing clear limits on the use of room confinement in written policy and institutional practice; –– Ensuring full staffing for living units in facilities and eliminat- ing mandatory double-shifts for staff; –– Providing full programming for youth throughout the day and into the evening; –– Delivering regular effective staff training on de-escalation, adolescent development and crisis intervention techniques; –– Integrating mental health pro- fessionals into residential units to provide therapeutic services for youth and training for staff, in addition to crisis intervention when conflicts occur; and
In May 2019, the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign will release a publication that responds to this need by describing four examples of how juvenile justice facilities implemented strategies to reduce room confinement.
–– Developing strong incentive- based behavior management programs. However, many facilities still struggle to determine how to suc- cessfully adopt these strategies with limited resources. Administrators and staff routinely request details and examples about how other jurisdic- tions reduced room confinement. Some state agencies and local facili- ties even send groups of staff to see firsthand how other states limit the use of room confinement. In May 2019, the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign will release a publication that responds to this need by describing four examples of how juvenile justice facilities imple- mented strategies to reduce room confinement. As a unique partnership between juvenile justice advocates and juvenile corrections and deten- tion administrators, the campaign embraces the idea that lasting change must include providing administra- tors and staff who work in juvenile facilities with viable alternatives to room confinement. “Not in Isolation: How to Re- duce Room Confinement While
Increasing Safety in Youth Facili- ties” tells the stories of how three state juvenile correctional agencies and one county sheriff’s depart- ment operating a juvenile detention facility successfully reduced room confinement. “Not in Isolation” relies on extensive interviews with administrators and staff to provide concrete examples and links to sample documents. The agencies described in the report include: –– Colorado Division of Youth Services –– Massachusetts Department of Youth Services –– Oregon Youth Authority –– Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center in Memphis, Tennessee Each jurisdiction in “Not in Isola- tion” has a story about why and how it reduced room confinement. Some agencies were compelled to respond to specific events, whether a series of suicides, filing of federal litiga- tion, investigation and reporting by outside entities, or passage of new state laws. Some administrators rec- ognized the harmful effects of room confinement and made the internal
Corrections Today May/June 2019 — 15
nEWS & vIEWS
decision to move away from the practice. Often it was a combination of these and other factors. Regardless of the impetus for change, administrators in these jurisdictions discovered that strate- gies to end room confinement were connected with many other aspects of facility operations. They could not safely reduce room by changing any one facility policy “in isolation” from other aspects of the institu- tion. “Not in Isolation” describes specific changes that each facility made in areas such as programming activities and schedules, integrated mental health staff on housing units, data collection and analysis and new behavior management programs. “Not in Isolation” includes: –– Quotes and perspectives from facility and agency staff; –– Direct links to policies, forms, reports, training material and other useful materials; –– Information on how jurisdic- tions addressed challenges in areas of leadership, staff culture, behavior management, mental health, staff training and data; and –– Details about what steps each site took — what worked and what did not. Committing to room reduction Achieving sustainable reductions in room confinement is time-con- suming and staff-intensive. Changes do not happen overnight. Even when jurisdictions make progress, continued success will depend on constant attention to detail and regular review of behavior of both youth and staff. While none of the jurisdictions featured in “Not in
Isolation” is a perfect model, they all achieved measurable reductions in the frequency and duration of room confinement through commit- ment, patience and regular review. Although letting go of long-held beliefs about the use of room con- finement was difficult for some, staff at every facility ultimately said that reducing room confinement was the right decision. It helped reduce violence, improve relationships between youth and staff and made facilities safer and more rewarding places to work. “Not in Isolation” will be avail- able at no cost online in May 2019. For more information visit www.StopSolitaryForKids.org/ not-in-isolation/. Endnotes 1 Mike Dempsey has worked in the corrections field for over thirty years as a corrections officer, superintendent, and executive director of the Indiana Department of Corrections, Division of Youth Services. He is currently the executive director of the Council for Juvenile Correctional Administrators. 2 Hayes, Lindsay M. (2009). “Juvenile Suicide in Confinement: A National Survey”: 18. Washington, District of Columbia: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Retrieved from https:// www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/213691.pdf. 3 Council of Juvenile Corrections Administrators. (2015). “Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators Toolkit: reducing the use of isolation”: 5. Retrieved from http://www.cjca.net. 4 Knauss, Tim. (2018). “Settled lawsuit over teen solitary confinement to cost Onondaga County $270,000.” Central NY News. Retrieved from https://www.syracuse.com/news/2018/04/settled_ lawsuit_over_teen_solitary_confinement_to_cost_ onondaga_county_270000.html. 5 Stop Solitary for Kids. (2019). “State and local action.” Retrieved from http://www.stopsolitary- forkids.org/state-or-local-policies-and-bans/. 6 The First Step Act of 2018, S. 3747. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/ bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3747/text#toc-idd- f565a43-5d49-48a4-9f05-011eb4e57668.
7 The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Reform Act of 2018, H.R. 6964. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr6964/BILLS- 115hr6964enr.pdf. 8 18 U.S.C. § 5043. (2018). 9 National Commission on Correctional Health Care. (2016). “Position statement: solitary confinement.” Retrieved from https://www.ncchc. org/filebin/Positions/Solitary-Confinement- Isolation.pdf. The National Partnership for Juvenile Services. (2014). “Position statement on the use of isolation.” Retrieved from http://npjs. org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/NPJS-Use-of- Isolation.pdf. 10 American Correctional Association. (2017). “Use of separation with juveniles – proposed expected practices and definitions.” Retrieved from http://www.stopsolitaryforkids.org/wp-content/ uploads/2019/02/Use-of-Separation-with-Juve- niles_Portal-draft-2017.pdf. 11 “Reducing the use of isolation, supra,” note 3: 6. 12 “Id.”: 5. 13 Jacobson, Anders & Soler, Mark. (2018). “More states need to limit solitary confinement, which doesn’t work.” Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Retrieved from https://jjie. org/2018/09/12/more-states-need-to-limit-solitary- confinement-which-doesnt-work/. 14 Reed, Harvey. J. (2015). “Ohio implements path to safer facilities.” Corrections Today, 77(5): 26-31, 30. Alexandria, Virginia: American Correctional Association. 15 Weiber, Audrey. (2019). “MacLaren takes STEPS to cool down young offenders.” Portland Tribune. Retrieved from https://pamplinmedia. com/pt/9-news/416398-318881-maclaren-takes- steps-to-cool-down-young-offenders.
Michael Dempsey is the executive director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.
Jennifer Lutz is the campaign manager of the Stop Solitary for Kids Center campaign for the Center for Children’s Law and Policy.
16 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
Happy 40 th Birthday Corrections Today!
We would like to thank our valued readership for their continued support and contributions throughout the years.
Informing, educating and enlightening corrections professionals and those involved in corrections-related work around the world. 17
Deciphering Inmate Communication The critical role of monitoring accurate language translation
By John M. Vanyur, Ph.D. and Mohamed Hussein
18 — May/June 2019 Corrections Today
C ommunication is the cornerstone of correctional management, and much of the training, effort and time in corrections is spent promoting effective communication between staff and between staff and inmates. An essential part of correctional management and intelligence systems is also developing sources and methods to monitor communications among the inmate population. Additionally, a critical piece of maintaining safety and security involves monitoring inmate communication with the outside world, which becomes significantly more difficult when the inmate communicates in a foreign language. The need to monitor inmate external communication To prevent contraband introduction, thwart escape plans and hinder potential assaults, violence and security threat group activity, prisons and jails manage and moni- tor inmate communication with parties in the community. Additionally, in recent years, the corrections industry has become a more central player in outside law enforcement efforts and investigations, and data sharing between cor- rectional and law enforcement entities has become more common. 1 It is clear that some inmates continue to partici- pate in and direct criminal enterprises in the community, threaten victims and tamper with witnesses, maintain ties to terrorist and radical groups throughout the world and project and exercise power on the streets from inside correctional facilities. At the same time, the avenues for inmate communication to the outside world have expand- ed beyond traditional visiting and written correspondence with less costly access to telephones and the increased use of email and video visiting. To meet these challenges, most correctional systems have improved their communi- cation monitoring capabilities through more sophisticated telephone monitoring, recording and storing capabilities; email system monitoring that flags select messages based on key word identification; and enhanced training for intelligence staff. While inmates are aware and informed that their calls, emails and letters can be monitored, they are also aware that the sheer number of calls and outside contacts means that the odds of detection of inappropriate outside communication is low. So, correctional manag- ers manage this flow with limited intelligence staffing by concentrating efforts on identified high-risk inmates.
Monitoring foreign language communications
What complicates monitoring efforts further is the growing diversity in the inmate population in terms of country of origin and related increased use of foreign languages due to immigration trends and the growing number of foreign nationals incarcerated in U.S. pris- ons and jails. 2 While in some cases courts have allowed systems to restrict the language used in incoming and outgoing mail, they have not generally permitted blan- ket restrictions on non-English communications (e.g. see Kikumura v. Turner, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1994). Even when such restrictions are permitted, they are difficult to enforce in live conversations via the telephone or visiting. Additionally, maintaining family and community ties is critical to offender re-entry prepa- ration, and the ability to speak with others in their native language is a key piece of maintaining these relationships. So, language translation and access to translation services have become a more central part of the communication monitoring and intelligence gathering in prisons and jails. Language translation and access to translation services have become a more central part of the communication monitoring and intelligence gathering in prisons and jails. While Spanish is the second-most used language in the inmate population, and most systems have taken great efforts to improve the Spanish language skills of staff through hiring more bilingual staff, paying language incentives, offering Spanish immersion programs and other efforts, correctional systems are now more than ever faced with monitoring communications from a broad spectrum of languages from Mandarin Chinese to Ara- bic, and within each of these languages are a variety of
Photo illustration opposite page: detective: istock/-zlaki-; jail cell: istock/BrilliantEye; words: istock/Oko_SwanOmurphy
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