- Report Published -
|Security Staffing and Procedures in Virginia's Prisons|
|Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission|
| (, 1984)|
|The 1983 Session of the General Assembly directed JLARC to review various issues in the Department of Corrections, including the appropriateness of the agency's staffing levels. In 1984, as a legislative response to the escape of six death-row inmates from Mecklenburg Correctional Center, the Commission amended the study's scope to include an assessment of security procedures and security staffing at the major prisons. This report focuses on these two issues: the adequacy of security staffing and the implementation of security procedures and practices.|
The report documents a number of flaws in the department's process for gauging security staffing needs. Of special concern is the absence of guidelines for conducting post audits, which has resulted in extensive variations in the staffing of Virginia's prisons. Although some of the security positions requested by wardens appear reasonable, other staffing practices -- such as using security officers as receptionists and storekeepers -- are inappropriate. Thus, the net security staffing level recommended in this report is 25 positions fewer than the number employed during the time the review was conducted (summer 1984).
The most troublesome finding in the report is the lack of comprehensive policies and procedures for ensuring security in the prisons. While wardens obviously need flexibility to administer their facilities, JLARC found wide gaps in DOC security policies and practices which compromise security staffing considerations. These areas are detailed in the body of the report for the system at large and for each major prison.