Inmate Classification Policies and Procedures (CLS)

As of September 1, 2020

The pending summarized recommendations listed below reflect the most current information and actions taken since the previous Board Study Session.  Summarized recommendations marked as complete have been updated for the March 10, 2020 Board Study Session.​​​

There are 36 recommendations in the category of Inmate Classification Policies and Procedures that are included in the Summarized Recommendations below.​​
 

    Steps Taken: The Sheriff’s Office has been working closely with the consultant for many months to learn the various aspects of the NIC tool and methods for applying it within the jail system. Now that the consultant’s final report is public, the Office of the County Executive will be working with the Sheriff’s Office Custody Bureau to understand the staffing needs and other implications if the Board approves these recommendations.

    On December 12, 2016 the Sheriff’s Office began using the tool designed by JFA Institute on females being booked into custody. Initial re-classification assessments were conducting in February. The tool was implemented with the male population beginning on March 9, 2017. In May 2017, use of the reclassification tool will begin. The JFA Institute will also conduct an on-site visit to complete reliability testing of the new tool. The Sheriff’s Office is on track for a 6-month evaluation report with JFA Institute at the end of July 2017.

    This Summarized Recommendation has been completed.

    Budget Status: Board added $30,000 in onetime funding in FY 2016 to implement a new classification system.

    Board added $25,000 in onetime funding in FY 2017 to assist with the implementation of the jail classification system.

    No additional resources are needed.

    Source Report(s): Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations, Department of Justice, Human Relations Commission, Sheriff’s Jail Reform Plan, JFA Institute Classification Study

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office

    Master List Nos.: 130-132, 184, 310-311, 347-348, 637-639, 641-642

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.

    Steps Taken: ​

    The Sheriff’s Office is reviewing all of the specific recommendations related to this item for operational impact and feasibility. Inmate files contain confidential safety information such as witness information and current or prior gang affiliation which would prevent some information from being shared with the inmate.

    As of March 8, 2017, the Sheriff’s Office has been classifying all inmates with the new initial classification form. Within the first eight hours of arriving at the jail, inmates are assessed and housed.  The reclassification interviews happen every 60 days via a face to face interview where the inmate also gains information on their file.

    The Sheriff’s Office is utilizing the 60-day review process in lieu of an appeal process and inmates are not allowed access to their files, but complete face to face interviews with Classification deputies as part of the 60-day review process where they discuss their behavior and documented incidents.

    Inmates that entered custody prior to implementation of the new tool cannot currently be entered into the tool’s program for 60-day reviews. Therefore, deputies assigned to Classification manually monitor compliance and complete review documents, including providing inmates with an advisement form outlining the 60-day review process and a copy of their custody score. The Sheriff’s IT staff is working to identify a temporary solution and ensuring that JMS will have the ability to manually enter assessments.

    This Summarized Recommendation is completed to the extent the Sheriff’s Office concurs with the recommendations.

    Budget Status:  No additional resources are needed.

    Source Report(s): Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations, Emblidge Report, Sheriff’s Jail Reform Plan

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office

    Master List Nos.: 134-135, 349, 352-356

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.​

    Steps Taken: This recommendation will be considered in the context of the consultant’s report, which says there is no need to create a separate instrument for the female inmates as the proposed system uses objective factors that apply equally to male and female inmates. The Sheriff’s Office continues to work with the Commission on the Status of Women, the Office of Women’s Policy, and the Office of LGBTQ Affairs to develop gender responsive policies in the jails.

    The Sheriff’s Office has also included proposed changes from the Commission on the Status of Women in the 60 day reclassification tool.

    This Summarized Recommendation has been completed.

    On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018 the Sheriff’s Office also began a pilot at the women’s facility that involves providing a classification of low, medium, or high security for female inmates.

    Budget Status: Onetime funding in the amount of $30,000 was provided in FY 2016 to implement a new classification system, although the department is working with impacted stakeholders to discuss and respond to this summarized recommendation.

    Board added $25,000 in onetime funding in FY 2017 to assist with the implementation of the jail classification system.

    Source Report(s): Commission on the Status of Women

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office

    Master List Nos.: 181, 544

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.​

    Steps Taken: Implementation of these recommendations is dependent on facility modifications, and will be considered as part of the new classification system implementation. The Sheriff’s Office has closed every maximum security tier at Main Jail South (MJS) and half of the remaining MJS facility. Since August of 2016, the Sheriff’s Office has downclassed approximately 600 inmates who were previously maximum security. By downclassing, they are rehoused in areas where they can come out of their cells in groups, thus increasing unstructured out-of-cell time, and given increased access to structured programming.  Inmates with mobility issues can be housed in any facility other than MJS. However, beds of all security levels are available for inmates with mobility issues in all other facilities.

    This Summarized Recommendation has been completed. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to house inmates according to their classification that is based on their behaviors and allows for the greatest amount of out of cell time and access to programs.

    Budget Status: No additional resources are needed.

    Source Report(s): Department of Justice, Emblidge Report, Sheriff’s Jail Reform Plan

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office

    Master List Nos.: 183, 351, 357

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.​

    Steps Taken: The Sheriff’s Office has reviewed all medium security level inmates and continues to evaluate appropriate housing locations for this population to maximize programming and access to exercise yards. Under the new classification tool, general population pre-trial inmates who meet the criteria for minimum security housing will be housed at Elmwood. Daily reviews of inmate population and bed availability is conducted to ensure those eligible for minimum camp are accommodated swiftly. The Sheriff’s Office has also submitted a request to FAF for improvements that can be made at Elmwood to securely increase capacity at the minimum camp.

    The current practice is to house all inmates according to their score utilizing the classification tool.  As a result, any inmate, who scores at security level of one or two are directly housed at Elmwood. 

    Inmates are now classified as Low, Medium, and High. This allows for a larger population of inmates to be considered for housing at the Elmwood Complex. Currently all inmates who qualify for Elmwood housing during the initial booking process are directly housed there following the classification interview. The new security levels began with the female population on March 8, 2018, the males at Elmwood on September 10, 2018, and at Main Jail on October 8, 2018.

    Minimum Camp improvements at Elmwood are ongoing and the Sheriff’s Office and other County departments are currently working with a consultant on the Elmwood Service Model and Operation Plan (SMOP). Any future funding needs will be handled through the Capital Projects process.

    Budget Status: County Administration and the department are evaluating to determine if additional resources are needed.

    Source Report(s): Sheriff’s Jail Reform Plan

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office, Facilities and Fleet

    Master List Nos.: 358-359

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.​

    Steps Taken: The Sheriff’s Office has implemented two comprehensive management software systems into their business processes. The Sheriff’s Office has been analyzing issues and compiling resource need requests for FY 2018 related to this Summarized

    Recommendation, which will focus on conducting research as well as tracking, monitoring, and implementing jail reforms. They will also evaluate external best practices to ensure the Sheriff’s Office Custody and Enforcement Bureaus are remaining up to date and are consistent in both Bureaus. They will be tasked with developing management reports and recommendations to Executive Staff for areas of improvement. This will allow Office of Operational Standards and Inspection Unit within the Sheriff’s Office Custody Bureau to focus on audits and policy compliance. They will also evaluate commissary options and establish the Vocational Training Program.

    This Summarized Recommendation has been completed.

    Budget Status: The Board approved the following:

    • FY 2016 Adopted Budget: 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Sergeant position and 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy position ($314,500) were added for the Professional Compliance unit.
    • November 2015: Also for the Professional Compliance Unit, 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Lieutenant, 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Sergeant, and 2 Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy positions were added ($741,000)
    • FY 2017 Adopted Budget: 5 Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy positions and 1 Clerk position ($827,539) were added to the Office of Operational Standards and Inspection Unit to support policy and compliance work.

    No additional resources are needed.

    Source Report(s): Civil Grand Jury

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office

    Master List Nos.: 530

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.​

    Steps Taken: The Sheriff’s Office has been analyzing issues and compiling resource need requests related to this Summarized Recommendation, which will help to complete reclassification assessments and to complete integration of high security inmates into general population. To move this project forward, the Sheriff’s Office has had to shift existing personnel into the Classification Unit and is utilizing overtime to backfill positions in other areas of the facilities.  The Sheriff’s Office is also evaluating duties of existing staff to create an Intervention Team for high needs female inmates and analyzing staffing needs. Currently, the Sheriff's Office has staffed female classification deputies and a sergeant at the women's facility who focus not only on the high needs female inmates, but the entire population of females housed in the women's facility.

    Other tasks are being handled as a collateral assignment.  The Sheriff’s Office is aggressively recruiting to decrease the current vacancy rate. 

    The Sheriff’s Office began implementation of the new classification system in March 2018.  The new system requires additional staffing to conduct interviews with inmates, observe and assess inmate behaviors, and to prepare files, enter data, and analyze trends for reclassification reviews.  Additional staffing will also assist with the Sheriff’s Office efforts to audit overrides and conduct proactive training based on usage of the system. Specific staffing needs were outlined in the Update on the Inmate Classification System presented to the Board at the August 15, 2017 Jail Reforms Study Session.

    The Sheriff’s Office has identified a need for staffing for Classification and submitted a preliminary analysis to the County Executive in February 2018. Classification positions were added on July 1, 2018 in the FY 2019 Adopted Budget.

    The Sheriff’s Office did not change the point criteria in regards to security levels, however the Sheriff’s Office recently implemented a change in the manner in which security levels are identified.  The classification system changed from a numbered security level system (1-4) to a Low, Medium, and High format.  This allows for a population who may not have been eligible to be housed at the Elmwood facility, under their old security level (1-4), to now be eligible if they meet the Elmwood security requirements.

    The Sheriff’s Office has completed this recommendation to the extent possible without additional staffing. Additional staffing needs will be reviewed as part of the staffing study.

    Budget Status: The Board approved the following:

    • November 2015: 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Lieutenant position and 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Sergeant position ($454,834) to provide additional supervisory staffing to the Classification Unit

    • FY 2017 Adopted Budget: 1 Sheriff’s Correctional Captain position ($290,402) and one of the responsibilities of this position was the new classification system. The position is also responsible for jail reforms, new jail construction, operational changes to existing facilities, coordination with Custody Health, and ADA issues. 

    • FY 2019 Adopted Budget: Added 10 Sheriff Correctional Deputy positions to be assigned to the Classification Unit and 1 Sheriff Correctional Sergeant position to be assigned to the Classification Unit at the Correctional Center for Women ($1,771,343).

    Source Report(s): JFA Institute Classification Study

    Responsible Department(s): Sheriff’s Office

    Master List Nos.: 640, 643-646

    Review Date: FGOC reviewed on August 26, 2016.​

    ©2021 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.