Posting in Cities
At the Oklahoma County Detention Center, a poorly designed jail makes moving, guarding and caring for inmates very difficult. But it also endangers jail employees.
Prison and jail overcrowding is a crisis not just in California, but across the country. And it can exacerbate other issues, which arise from poor prison design.
We're not talking about poor fen shui. We're talking about design that endangers guards, other workers and prisoner alike -- both in terms of their security and health. For an example, look to the Oklahoma County Detention Center in Oklahoma City.
As The Oklahoman reports, the poor design of the facility poses logistical and management problems that create safety issues for guards and create an environment that limits inmates' movements and access to things like healthcare, exercise and worship.
One of the chief issues is the fact that the facility is 13 stories in height, which makes it very difficult and labor-intensive to move inmates around the building, since they need to rely on series of elevators.
Another problem is the cell configuration. Each cell is arranged such that jailers can't see the entire space -- even if they try to look through the cell's window, since the portals are too small. That means multiple inmates in single cells could conspire outside of their jailers' view.
That also means a jailer can't see the entire cell before he or she steps inside. And many parts of the building have drop ceilings, with tiles that can be pushed in, serving as an ideal place to hide weapons or contraband.
The facility's medical unit, which is on the top floor, is also cramped, with an examining room and administrative offices in the same small space.
For inmates, the jail's design precludes physical activity. They eat inside their cells and have limited room or time for exercise. The building also lacks a chapel.
The building's ventilation problems aren't up to commercial standards, or even jail or prison standards, as evidenced by a fan being used to force air into a cell in which a pregnant inmate was recently going through labor.
County Sheriff John Whetsel attributes the problems to an inexperienced building contractor that lacked the expertise needed to design an effective, safe jail.
Oklahoma County and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed three years ago that resources should be devoted to fixing these problems, identified by federal monitors. And while some problems due to overcrowding has been fixed, the County Sheriff says the building really needs a major design overhaul to address the core issues.
Structural limitations still problem for county jail [The Oklahoman]
Photos: Top image by Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman; fan and cell door by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
Oct 24, 2011
Most of the people who are in jail or prison will get out sooner or later. Treating them like rabid animals is not an answer. I don't what prison you are talking about unless it is the ones in Norway, most of the prisons and jails in the U.S. are very nasty places. Why should we care, because the worse we treat these people the more likely they will become violent, not all prisoners are in there for violent crimes, if they become violent the guards who do go home every day are at risk. Also there is the threat of disease. MERSA a contagious disease is easily spread in these places, medical care is vital in stopping this, again the guards are at risk as are the prisoners families. If you think jail is a vacation spa you have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you should do a little research on the prisons and jails in the U.S. it might open your eyes. Start with Arizona.
"As The Oklahoman reports, the poor design of the facility poses logistical and management problems that create safety issues for guards and create an environment that limits inmates??? movements and access to things like healthcare, exercise and worship" Uh...they're prisoners! Criminals...They are throw-away people. they are in jail for a reason. They have violated the rights of others, therefore they have no rights. They are garbage, refuse.. I think it's a crime that we are all so concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of the criminal, when the victim is treated like yesterday's news! These scum are in jail for a reason, to be punished. They are not on vacation! American prisons have become a joke! There is nothing to disinsentivise a criminal from enacting their crime...because they all know that the bleeding hearts will make their stay on the government's dime as comfy and cosy as possible...three meals, heated and airconditioned rooms, exercise, and even phones! If you were homeless, jail sounds like heaven! So no...who cares if the criminals are "uncomfortable" in their cells...if I had my way, I'ld leave them there to rot!
Seems to me the only thing this waste of a building would be for is a high-quality place to store your old college "collectibles" and other junk - secure, heat/humidity managed, storage cells for rent.
For these hard-nosed conservatives, I will not try to argue in favor of compassion for all people. I will certainly not try to suggest that some prisoners are in prison, not because they are simply evil, but as a result of the rotten circumstances of their early years. However, on a more pragmatic level, we know that most of these prisoners will be released after a few years. So, the question is: do we want to turn people who made a mistake or two into hardened criminals? Or do we want to help them grow as people and become socially adjusted to life in our neighborhoods?
...but in most states, county jails are for 1) holding people who are awaiting trial and, by definition, may therefore be innocent and 2) imprisonment of people guilty of relatively minor crimes, usually defined as misdemeanors. But I don't know where you live so maybe it's 1 of those, sadly, many places where there is no respect for human rights or even the simple logic that fairly treated prisoners are less likely to harm their jailers & more likely to reintegrate into society after the end of their terms.