The Jefferson County Correctional Facility, opening in 1992, is a 196 bed direct supervision facility that is fully dedicated to the citizens of Jefferson County in its' efforts to provide and maintain a safe and secure facility, in which to lawfully detain and house inmates. The facility is also charged with the transport of inmates to courts, prisons and other designated sites.
The Jefferson County Correctional Facility employs two lieutenant, six sergeants, sixty-six full time officers. All inmates entrusted to the facility are treated fairly and justly without regard to their race, gender, religion or age. Rehabilitation, education and humane treatment are the hallmarks of this facility.
Direct supervision facilities are based on a system of reward and discipline. Better control of inmates in this type of facility compared to traditional jails results in significantly decreased violence, noise, vandalism and harassment of staff by inmates. Also, in a direct supervision jail system, inmates have a better chance of leading productive lives after they finish their sentence.
Principles of Direct Supervision
Effective Control: The direct supervision jail, through a combination of architectural design, classification philosophy, inmate ground rules, and officer deployment, effectively controls inmate behavior.
Effective Supervision: Direct supervision facilities require housing officers to supervise the prisoners and the jail manager to supervise officers through leadership and example.
Safety of Staff and Prisoners: In a direct supervision jail, an officer stays with the prisoners, and safety is greatly increased. Not only are the number of prisoner on prisoner attacks greatly reduced, but, managers report, having officers remain in constant association with prisoners has dissolved the traditional fear/hate relationships between officers and prisoners. The result is a work climate unencumbered by fear and hate.
Competent Staff: The Officer who shares the day room with the prisoner must provide leadership, enforce rules, control privileges, and monitor behavior. Direct supervision jails cannot succeed unless managers are committed to training housing officers in special interpersonal and managerial skills.
Manageable/Cost Effective Operations: Direct supervision jails look very little like traditional jails. Walking into a day room of a direct supervision jail and you will see: Telephones which give easy access to families, attorneys and others, Televisions, access to commissary and personal hygiene items, private rooms and showers, direct access to outdoor recreation, self-policing of sanitation, programs offered in chemical dependency, literacy skills, self help and self reliance.
Effective Communications: Communication is two-way street. Staff must feel that there is open communication between themselves and management. Direct Supervision jails involve staff in jail decision-making. Officers know best about the actual happenings within the jail.
Classification and Orientation: Proper classification enables the jail to gauge the proper level of custody assuring order and safety for staff and prisoners. Prisoners are oriented upon admission and told the rules for behavior, through personal orientation, written prisoner handbook, and expectations given by staff daily.
Just and Fair Decisions: Direct supervision jails cannot function unless all officers always treat the prisoners with justice and fairness. Prisoners must feel that if they go to an officer with a problem, they will be treated fairly.
Ownership of Operations: In order for direct supervision jails to function best, the staff must “own” the jail. Officers must be able to make decisions with established parameters. This empowers the officers, which leads to increased job satisfaction and improved jail operations.
An officer works inside each of six housing units called "pods" which can house up to 32 inmates. These officers are responsible for all aspects of an inmate's life while incarcerated. Working in a direct supervision jail is quite different than working in a traditional "linear" jail, with rows of barred cells. Specialized training is required for all officers working in this environment.
In 2015, the Jefferson County Correctional Facility opened a 36 bed dormitory style housing unit utilizing the old indoor recreation area. This dormitory consists of 18 double bunks on the perimeter of the unit with six 6-man tables in the common day area. The principles of this dormitory are to provide inmates with an incentive for good behavior. Inmates are afforded more privileges than those in a traditional pod-style housing setting.
Jefferson County Correctional Facility, 753 Waterman Drive, Watertown, NY 13601