Consultant proposes changes for SCCCA jail consultant recommended changes for the Stutsman County Correctional Center Tuesday, including altering staffing patterns, updating the policy and procedure manual and creating a training program.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
A jail consultant recommended changes for the Stutsman County Correctional Center Tuesday, including altering staffing patterns, updating the policy and procedure manual and creating a training program.
“There’s a lot of good things going on in there, but there is a need … a lot of issues that need to change,” said David Prachar, a jail consultant and former jail administrator in St. Louis County, Minnesota. During his tenure as jail administrator there, the geographically-extensive county built three jail facilities.
Prachar presented his staffing analysis and operational assessment report for the SCCC Tuesday to the Stutsman County Commission, as well as members of the Jamestown City Council and the general public, after having toured the facility on May 30.
Prachar recommended creating and assigning fixed posts for the jail staff, so that they would be assigned to specific locations with specific duties associated with those stations. They would then remain at their posts until relieved, barring emergencies.
Prachar also recommended that a sergeant be on duty at all times, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently correctional officers do the work normally associated with sergeants, but are neither trained nor paid as supervisors, Prachar said.
His recommendation that part-time personnel be scheduled or called in only when needed was met with concerns that part-time workers would be hard to keep under those conditions —particularly given the job market and the Oil Patch pulling away workers.
“If it ain’t nailed down, it’s rolling out to the Oil Patch,” said Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer.
Prachar’s recommended staffing plan would include 38,844 hours of work from jail staff, as compared to the more than 62,000 hours worked in 2012.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever done a staffing analysis where I’m seeing an excess amount of staff on duty at times,” Prachar said. “Normally it’s the exact opposite — not enough.”
Prachar listed seven areas of concern that regarded life-safety issues for jail workers:
* the policy and procedure manual is years old, has no review process, has some portions that are not being followed and does not include staffing
* supervisory coverage of staff needs to be improved, through promotions, training for new sergeants and a new schedule
* methods for managing keys need to be more secure
* a training program is needed, with a training coordinator and time and resources for program development
* fixed security posts need to be established, with orders developed for each location, and staff need to be trained on dealing with the posts
* emergency preparedness needs to be improved, with training, coordination with other agencies, drills and practice for emergencies
* security protocols for jail visitors need to be changed by adding lockers for visitors and searching each one with a handheld metal detector
Prachar also addressed issues that did not concern life safety, such as writing a strategic plan, keeping inspection reports, physically reconfiguring some spaces in the jail, rewriting the inmate orientation handbook for easier reading and improving medical screenings by including more provisions to prevent suicide.
“It’s a long process before anything gets done,” said Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer. “… realistically, the earliest time frame we would see any of these big changes would be January.”
The county’s proposed changes that resulted from Prachar’s report would include having 12 full-time correctional officers, up from the nine it employed last year, promoting two people to sergeant and making some changes to staffing.
Criteria for advancement of part-time employees would be based on training rather than time spent at a pay grade. A $1 shift differential could be added to night and weekend shifts as an added incentive.
The county’s proposed changes, according to Bradley, would have saved $211,164 in 2012.
No action was taken regarding Prachar’s report at the meeting.
In other news Tuesday, the commission:
* accepted a bid from Independent Emergency Services of Hutchinson, Minn., for new 911 equipment. The total bid was $351,407.21 for both Richland County and Stutsman County. Stutsman County is projected to pay approximately $167,000, and had budgeted $200,000 for the equipment, which will likely be installed in December.
* opened bids for grade raises to five sites on behalf of Griffin Township. The township will select which bids to accept for the grade raises.
* awarded a bid for construction engineering to Ulteig Engineering in Bismarck.
* requested that the Stutsman County Water Board investigate a possible illegal drain in Nogosek Township that may have contributed to flooding property and a township road.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at email@example.com