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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98120 Find in a Library
Title: Federal Court Impact on a Local Jail (From Courts and Criminal Justice, P 139-153, 1985, Susette M Talarico, ed. - See NCJ-98113)
Author(s): C Weber; A C Price; E Perlman
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Analysis of the impact of a Federal court decision that placed constraints on the use of an overcrowded jail in an urban midwestern county shows that the court decision imposed constraints on local criminal justice decisionmakers and had a significant impact on the county's governance and budget.
Abstract: Study information came from a review of the jail's booking data, an examination of the composition of the jail population during October 1982, and examination of county fiscal data. Prior to the court decision, criminal justice decisionmakers operated relatively independently of one another. The shared ideology, which was supported by the public, was one of incarceration. None of the decisionmakers -- police, courts, prosecutors, county governing board -considered the jail population to be a problem. The overcrowded jail was seen as a solution. A Federal lawsuit led to a consent decree which was entered into in 1980 and renewed in 1982. The first and most widespread effect of the Federal lawsuit was to change the role and significance of the jail. Instead of being a solution, it became the most pressing problem for local policymakers. The consent decree limited the population to 252, whereas the jail previously had often housed 450-500 prisoners. The sheriff's release powers were expanded significantly. A central intake program was established, and police organizations started to routinely issue appearance tickets rather than take suspects in nonserious crimes into custody. The allocation of the county's spending was greatly affected as well, with dollars reallocated from other county functions during a deep national recession. Data tables, 3 notes, and 12 references are listed.
Index Term(s): Corrections policies; Corrections resources; Corrections standards; Court ordered institutional reform; Jail reform; Judicial decision compliance; Overcrowding
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