Much attention has been given to the new certification standards for Ohio law enforcement agencies, better known as the Ohio Collaborative.
The Ohio Collaborative sets forth standards for various law enforcement functions to serve as guiding principles in areas such as hiring, use of force, telecommunicator training and many more to follow. In addition to law enforcement functions, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office also manages a full-service jail, which is one of the primary duties of the county sheriff.
Long before the Ohio Collaborative set standards for law enforcement agencies, Ohio full-service jails have been monitored by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to ensure they meet minimum jail standards set forth in section 5120 of the Ohio Administrative Code since the early 1980s.
Meeting the minimum jail standards in the old Clinton County jail that was in use from 1918 until 2001 was a tall task, even though that jail was grandfathered on many of the standards due to its age. When the new adult detention facility was built in 2001, the ability to be grandfathered no longer existed, which required our agency to meet all minimum jail standards.
There are 206 minimum jail standards that the Clinton County Adult Detention Facility is required to adhere to. The standards cover a variety of topics, such as: Reception and Release, Security, Housing, Recreation and Programming, Inmate Discipline, Administrative Segregation, Staffing and Staff Training.
While these are only a few examples of the standards, the primary theme has to do with maintaining the safety and security of the adult detention facility and the inmates and staff that occupy it.
An inspector from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections annually provides a review of our policy and procedures as they pertain to the minimum jail standards selected for review that year.
In addition to the policy and procedure review, a physical detailed inspection of the facility takes place. This physical inspection determines that the proper temperatures, light levels and other environmental issues are maintained in the housing areas and fall within the standard guidelines.
I am proud to say that the Clinton County Adult Detention Facility has again obtained 100 percent compliance during its 2016 inspection.
Inspections on a more local level occur quarterly at the Adult Detention Facility. The Clinton County Grand Jury is provided access to the adult detention facility during each three-month term and in turn reports back to the Common Pleas Court Judge on the condition of the adult detention facility. While this is more of an informal inspection than that of the state, it does give citizens of our county the opportunity to see how the jail operates to ensure conditions for the inmates in the facility are adequate.
Jail is a “necessary evil” within our society, and without it the rule of law would be impossible to maintain. It takes a special type of person to work in law enforcement and corrections officers are often overlooked as part of the law enforcement community.
It is no easy task to come to work and hear that big steel door slam behind you, knowing you are going to be “locked up” for your entire shift.
I want to congratulate Captain Drake, Lt. Wahl and the staff of the Clinton County Adult Detention Facility for another job well done in your continued compliance of the minimum jail standards.
Col. Brian L. Prickett serves with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.