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Published on Friday, January 22, 2016

Legislation creates task force on local jail standards

HB 2558 establishes a task force on jail standards. The eleven member task force will look at the following:

  • The adequacy of standards adopted and used by jails including, but not limited to, standards for conditions and operations, inspections, enforcement, and oversight;
  • The current process used by cities and counties to develop standards;
  • The general condition of jails including, but not limited to, safety and physical conditions, health and welfare, and activities and programming, and whether those conditions meet adopted standards;
  • Inmates' access, or lack thereof, to medical, mental health and substance abuse treatment in jails;
  • The impact of fluctuating jail populations on jail conditions;
  • The impact of fluctuating jail costs on jail conditions;
  • The impact, if any, of competition between jails on jail conditions;
  • Whether statewide jail standards, oversight, or other policy changes are necessary to ensure jail conditions meet constitutional standards and include adequate safety and welfare safeguards for incarcerated persons; and
  • Other issues the task force deems relevant to the conditions of jails.

The task force is required to report back to the Legislature by December 2018. While AWC is not opposed to the creation of a task force, we do have concerns that the recommendations may result in additional unfunded mandates. The bill will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee Friday, January 29 at 10 am. We will continue to monitor this legislation.