Jail Processing Annual Report
The Jail Processing Division provides a wide variety of efficient service to citizens, prisoners, and staff. Our continuing mission is to provide services vital to the core of the Jail’s primary function – the intake and release of prisoners, and their management while housed in the facility. We also provide this support for our many criminal justice partners across the County and State, including both public and private attorneys, law enforcement agencies at all levels, and a wide variety of judicial venues.
Working components of the Processing Division cover a diverse range of responsibilities and include the Intake / Booking, Releasing, Clothing / Laundry, Court Liaison, Classification, Records, Video Arraignment, and Prisoner Disciplinary Units. A brief description of each of them and their general duties follows.
The Division is a healthy mix of dedicated sworn and civilian staff. Allocations for 2013 were one Captain, two Lieutenants, seven Sergeants, three civilian supervisors, ten civilian assistant supervisors, fifty-four Officers, and sixty-one civilian specialist clerks, for a total of 138 staff.
Intake / Booking – This is the first area seen by incoming prisoners and is staffed by a mix of both sworn and civilian professionals. Transporting officers, after benefiting from some research performed by Criminal History Clerks, initiate the booking process by entering arrest and charge information into the OMS (Offender Management System). Before admittance, prisoners are medically screened prior to a pat/rub search being performed to remove contraband items and safely account for prisoner money and personal property, which is inventoried and stored for safekeeping until their release. Although most prisoners will be moved to the next stages of the process as quickly as possible, depending on their needs, some prisoners may be temporarily segregated for safety or health reasons. Prisoners participate in the process by providing personal information to complete the booking process, as well as being photographed, fingerprinted, and, depending on their charges, may provide a DNA sample or sex offender registry information. They will confer with Pre-Trial Services to see if they can be released immediately without the need to pay bail. After a comprehensive medical and mental health exam, those prisoners who are not being released are offered the opportunity to shower prior to exchanging their street clothes for jail uniforms. They are then moved to various Housing units for classification purposes. In 2013, we booked 33,096 prisoners and managed nearly 147,000 individual charges. Although the number of prisoners was nearly identical to the previous year, the number of charges processed was up about 24% from the previous year.
Releasing – For those prisoners being released from the Jail, this is the last stop before leaving the facility. After a thorough and careful computer check to ensure that all charges and cases have been accurately dispositioned, their prisoner funds and property are returned, and upcoming court dates are provided. We released 32,703 prisoners and their affiliated charges, almost the same as the previous year. Due to a commonly recurring condition of overcrowding, some prisoners are released prior to trial simply because the Jail is full. Prisoners selected for these OCRs (Overcrowding Releases) are held for less serious crimes. In 2013, we released 1,302 prisoners in this way, down over 87% from the year before. Careful management of the population by judicious use of the Jail Cap Management Plan has helped keep the most serious offenders in custody, while those at lower risk are released pending further court action.
Clothing/Laundry – Besides providing the initial dress-in and pre-release dress-out services to prisoners, this unit is also responsible for ensuring the continual supply of needed clothing and bedding to all our prisoners. The laundry unit, supervised by civilian staff, is comprised of a labor force of prisoners. Until recently, the Sheriff’s Prisoner Labor Detail (SPLD) provided the manpower to wash, dry, fold, and stack laundered clothing. Although they are still prisoners, they are not housed in the Jail, but rather eat and sleep at their own residence, and are equipped with an electronic ankle monitoring device to assist them in complying with judicial and probation orders. We expanded the program to include in-custody female prisoners, which added variety to their day and raised the level of service to the remainder of the prisoner population. Together, they process just under 3.5 million pounds of laundry annually. This unit is responsible for the ordering, storage, laundry, and distribution of uniforms, blankets, sheets, underwear, and shoes for the entire in-custody Jail population.
Court Liaison – Tasked with managing the complexities of court documentation, including warrants, commitments, detainers, and many other judicial directives, this unit is constantly occupied with ensuring prisoner paperwork is complete and accurate. They comply with consular notification requirements and monitor court cases to make certain that prisoners are being confined as required by law. They work closely with court clerks and attorneys to provide efficiency in an intricate process which is constantly changing due to legislative modifications at levels ranging from municipalities to Federal decisions.
Classification – Jail prisoners are as diverse as are any large group of citizens on the outside. As such, it is necessary to determine some general groups in which they can best interact with each other. Some with special needs receive additional consideration to ensure the safety of other prisoners and staff. After determining a basic classification group, based on an objective system which considers past institutional behavior, current charges, and other pertinent information, prisoners are assigned to individual bunks and cells. They are also periodically reviewed to ensure that status changes are appropriately applied so they can participate in the additional programs and privileges afforded to those prisoners who are classified as Minimum Security. Those in Medium or Maximum security, or those in Protective Custody or Administrative Segregation, have a more limited access to those privileges, as an incentive to improve their behavior. This group also monitors sentenced prisoners to ensure that the statutorily permitted time off for good behavior is applied so they can be released in accordance with their sentences.
Records – This group provides valuable documentation services by scanning, indexing, and archiving prisoner records for later retrieval as necessary. They also provide access to the public for records as permitted under GRAMA (Government Records Access and Management Act). Without the ability to retrieve information from previous bookings and incidents, we would be unable to provide the level of service the citizens of Salt Lake County deserve. They also provide important support to the DNA testing program, facilitating the timely fiscal reconciliation required by the program. They also provide support to the Training and Visitation Units.
Video Arraignment – Initial appearances by many prisoners are managed without their even needing to leave the facility. By using current video technology, prisoners are able to see and hear judges, confer with attorneys, and minimize delays in their criminal proceedings. This service assists both District and Justice Courts, dramatically reducing the impact on Jail Transportation and Court bailiffs, providing further efficiencies to the overall judicial process.
Prisoner Disciplinary – Some of the prisoner population has difficulty in abiding by the rules of society, which is made even more apparent when incarcerated in close proximity to others. When those rule violations occur, the PDB (Prisoner Disciplinary Board) investigates the issue and applies sanctions as necessary as an incentive for good behavior. Restrictions are sometimes necessary and the staff personally meets with each offender to ensure that the evidence is accurately presented and the prisoners are afforded the opportunity to provide a defense. They managed 3,710 rule infraction investigations last year, which does not include appeal investigations initiated by prisoners who may have disagreed with the findings of the Board.