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NCJ Number: 165491 Find in a Library
Title: Expansion of Jail Capacity: Makeshift Jails and Public Policy (From American Jails: Public Policy Issues, P 148-162, 1991, Joel A Thompson and G Larry Mays, eds. -- See NCJ-165482)
Author(s): M Welch
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Nelson-Hall Publishers
Chicago, IL 60606
Sale Source: Nelson-Hall Publishers
111 North Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60606
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In response to crowding, some policymakers have decided to house misdemeanants and detainees in alternative facilities known as makeshift jails, satellite jails, or jail annexes; this chapter addresses the controversy surrounding policy and jail crowding as it relates to the use of makeshift jails.
Abstract: The discussion focuses on those problems facing jails in major cities where large jails usually are managed like prisons. In addition to presenting jail crowding in a social and historical context, issues such as architecture, community protest, and the future of makeshift jails are explored as they relate to public policy. Although makeshift jails have gained recent popularity, the secondary use of structures has historical precedence. The main reason why policymakers must consider the use of makeshift jails is that primary jails remain crowded. The reason primary jails are crowded is because they lack explicit policies to guide their proper use. Consequently, jails hold many people who do not belong there. Similar to other social problems, jail crowding is presented as a temporary crisis that can be managed easily by simple, short-term solutions, when in fact jail crowding has been considered a crisis since detention became a routine method of social control. Presenting makeshift jails as a temporary solution while additional jails are constructed also raises the issue of whether more jails should be built. Decisionmakers exploit public opinion about the so-called benefits of makeshift jails, and the result is that these jails become the correctional system's "motels" because they are convenient and modest alternatives to expensive jails. Contrary to these misconceptions about costs and convenience, Steelman (1984) argues that the more feasible policy is to revitalize bail reform and existing community program. This chapter concludes that it is unreasonable to use makeshift jails, because there are better alternatives for low-risk, low-security detainees and misdemeanants.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Architectural design; Jails; Prison construction; Prison overcrowding
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