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Security Checks - Industry Standard

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William Hayes posted on Fri, Apr 20 2012 3:42 PM

Can you advise the industry standard for the length of time between security checks in a Booking area?  We would appreciate any information you may have related to this topic. 

Thank you.

Claudia M. Balducci


King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention

Seattle, WA

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We do a minimum of one per hour in all parts of the facility.
Lt. Michael Beedy
Training Officer
Kershaw Correctional Institution
South Carolina Department of Corrections
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Tim replied on Fri, May 11 2012 12:18 PM
We do checks every 30 minutes unless someone is suicidal then we do them every 15 minutes.
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Indoc (booking) area is supervised.  Post entry is 5 min checks for suicide watch; 15 checks all others.

replied on Mon, May 14 2012 8:40 AM

Claudia M. Balducci

Both the first and second edition of the American Correctional Association Adult Local Detention Facility accreditation standards included a standard addressing how often to perform a "well-being" check on inmates. 

 Basically the standard said that "all high and medium security inmates are personally observed by a corrections officer at least every 30 minutes, but on an irregular schedule. More frequent observation is required for those inmates who are violent, suicidal, mentally disordered or who demonstrate unusual or bizarre behavior."

Jail folks began to refer to that as "well-being" checks since the goal was not to assess security but rather to make sure everybody was OK.  That became a good practice in jails, given the liability and the need to support inmate and staff safety, and the emergence of the  "failure to protect" liability issue.

Since offenders in the booking and admissions area are essentially unclassified at that point, you might want to apply that 30 minute check standard.  Since the spirit of that ACA standard was assessing inmate well-being, you might want to use that kind of language in your policy, since it focuses staff on the goal of being well and safe,  rather than security.

You can't really find that standard replicated  in the 3rd and 4th editions of the ACA ALDF standards, but the 30 minute check becomes a good pro-active measure to apply in jails for all offenders who are not classified as minimum security.  Well-being checks for  minimum security inmates  would be at least hourly, on an irregular schedule.

Tom Reid, NIC Information Center,   800 995-6429 x 6642

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Our policy is once every hour at irregular intervals.  Every 10 minutes irregularly for those on suicide wathc.

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after reading the other replies, I must state that they all have good practical meaning, however , you would be required to do whatever your SOP  requiures.

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