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Evaluating Safety Issues at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex NSAA Excellence in Accountability Presentations November 6, 2013 Scott Frank Kansas.

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluating Safety Issues at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex NSAA Excellence in Accountability Presentations November 6, 2013 Scott Frank Kansas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluating Safety Issues at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex NSAA Excellence in Accountability Presentations November 6, 2013 Scott Frank Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit

2 Road Map for the Presentation Background on KJCC and our audit approach Summary of the findings The aftermath 2

3 Background on the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex The Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA) is responsible for supervising and providing rehabilitation services to all juvenile offenders in state custody. JJA oversees community corrections through a network of local providers. JJA also oversees two juvenile correctional facilities: – Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) – Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility 3

4 Background on the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) is a medium- and maximum-security facility in Topeka. KJCC houses about 220 male and 20 female juvenile offenders – Offenders are between the ages of 13 and 22. – 97% of the offenders have felony convictions. KJCC has more than 200 employees and a FY 12 budget of about $18 million. Previous performance audits of KJCC (1989 and 1994) had found recurring problems with poor management and lax security practices. 4

5 Summary of Our Audit Approach 5

6 Develop a “chase list” of possible safety and security incidents – Interviews – Internal emails – Incident reports – Staff Survey Prioritize the list and chase down corroborating evidence for as many as possible 6

7 Summary of Our Audit Approach Almost everything that happens in a correctional facility has been captured on video. 7

8 The Findings Findings related to the specific safety and security problems we identified Findings related to issues with personnel management that compounded the problems Findings related to an organizational environment that was not conducive to ensuring safety and security 8

9 Specific Safety and Security Problems Staff did not adequately supervise the juvenile offenders Staff frequently left security doors propped open or unlocked KJCC had weak processes for keeping prohibited items out of the facility Staff did a poor job of securing keys and tools 9

10 Inadequate Supervision Different levels of supervision are required for juvenile offenders, depending on the situation. – During free time, staff are supposed to maintain a constant level of general supervision (like monitoring children on a playground) – At night, staff are supposed to conduct regular welfare checks every 15 minutes – In the segregation (disciplinary) unit, staff are supposed to conduct random bed checks, no more than 15 minutes apart – On suicide watch, required checks may need to be as frequently as once every four minutes, with the offender’s behavior documented. 10

11 Inadequate Supervision Examples Juveniles were able to enter an unlocked social work office and steal office supplies while an officer sat only a few feet away. [No disciplinary action] A juvenile was battered inside the janitors’ closet on a living unit because the officer left him unsupervised. [Dismissed] A juvenile in the segregation unit was able to attempt suicide by wrapping a string around his neck because the officers did not check in for almost 30 minutes (twice as long as required by policy). [Informal counseling] A juvenile on suicide precaution sustained injuries from banging his head on a wall for an hour before officers intervened. More than 20 minutes between checks (should have been under constant supervision). [No disciplinary action] 11

12 Unsecured Doors There are doors within the living units to keep juvenile offenders out of certain rooms during free time. – Most of these doors are supposed to be locked at all times. There are also security doors between parts of the facility to keep juvenile offenders in certain areas. – Many of these are actually two doors that section off a holding area (also known as a “sally port” door). At least one of these doors should be closed at all times. 12

13 Unsecured Doors Examples of Findings Our auditors repeatedly observed doors within living units that were propped open (both in person and on video). Our auditors observed officers circumventing “sally port” doors by propping one of the doors open. Our auditors were able to open doors on their site visits that should have been secured. In December 2011, a juvenile offender was able to escape his living unit and roam the hallways when the central control officer accidentally let him out through a sally port door. 13

14 Prohibited Items Prohibited items include: – obvious contraband such as guns, knives, and drugs – seemingly ordinary items such as cell phones and tobacco products Neither the juvenile offenders nor the staff are supposed to have these types of items in the facility. 14

15 Prohibited Items Examples of Findings Security at the entrances was inadequate. – Visitors went through a metal detector, but were not consistently checked when metal detector beeped – Staff were frequently allowed to bypass metal detectors entirely – Bags and briefcases were not scanned and generally were not searched Nearly 1/3 of the staff who responded to our survey told us prohibited items were entering the facility 15

16 Prohibited Items Examples of Findings The facility was not searched regularly, as required by policy. – Annual search of the entire facility had not been conducted in past year – Monthly searches of living units were sporadic – Semi-annual dog searches hadn’t happened in two years Staff did not take adequate action when items found. – Alcohol found in an employee’s car. No action taken. – Cocaine residue found in the school area. No formal documentation or follow up investigation. – In separate incidents, a makeshift knife and ammunition were improperly handled by staff and ruined as potential evidence – Staff could not account for all items they had seized and had no assurance they had been properly disposed of 16

17 Keys and Tools Examples of Findings Staff took master keys out of the facility on a regular basis. Locks weren’t changed in a timely fashion when keys were lost. – Set of 500 keys lost in November 2011; locks changed in February 2012 – JJA Commissioner fired in March 2012; keys never retrieved and locks not changed until May 2012 Tools in the vocational program (saws, needles, screwdrivers) not locked up and not inventoried. Tools in the dining area, including knives, accounted for on an “honors system” 17

18 Issues With Personnel Management Safety and security problems at KJCC were compounded by poor personnel management – The background check process was disorganized and inadequate – Juvenile corrections officers had not received sufficient training in recent years – Officials had done a poor job of disciplining staff for policy violations – Some shifts were not staffed and supervised properly 18

19 Background Checks State law and agency policy prohibit juvenile corrections officers from having any of the following types of convictions: – Felonies – Crimes punishable by more than one year in prison – Drug crimes (past 5 years) – Crimes involving children – DUI (past 2 years) New employees are supposed to undergo a nine-part initial background check, and existing employees undergo somewhat less extensive annual background check. 19

20 Background Checks Examples of Findings Initial background checks – No record of initial background check for 10 of 70 new hires we reviewed for 2011 – 29 staff were hired before the background check was complete – Two corrections officers were hired in 2011 despite drug convictions officials knew about Annual background checks – No annual checks at all in 2010 – No record of annual checks for 77% of employees in 2011 – A corrections officer and a maintenance employee were retained, even through the 2011 annual check revealed past convictions for child endangerment and felony theft. 20

21 Training Training is a critical component of safety and security process in a correctional facility State law requires: – 160 hours of basic training before a new officer comes off probationary status – 40 hours of annual training 21

22 Training Annual training wasn’t met for two years – 50% of correctional officers did not meet the 40 hour requirement in 2010 – 80% did not meet the requirement in 2011 Reviewed files for nine officers who were promoted to full status in 2011 – 3 of 9 did not get full 160 hours (between 100 and 150 hours) 22

23 Security Environment The environment at KJCC was not conducive to ensuring safety and security – Management was incredibly disorganized – There were severe problems with staff turnover – Both management and staff emphasized convenience and expedience over safety and security – Management did a poor job of addressing issues once they became aware of them 23

24 Disorganized Management Personnel, training, and disciplinary records at the facility were in disarray. KJCC’s inability to produce necessary documentation played a role in the state’s decision to withdraw from American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation in February 2009. Policies were outdated, convoluted, incomplete and at times conflicting. There also was no central location to find the policies and procedures (some on intranet, others in manuals, others in emails). Staff told us they were never sure what the current expectations were because things changed so often. 24

25 Staff Turnover From 2007 to 2011, KJCC had by far the highest turnover rate among Kansas correctional facilities. In addition, KJCC had four different superintendents from 2006 to 2011. 25

26 Staff Turnover Several factors appeared to have contributed to the high turnover: – Low pay compared to neighboring states and adult correctional facilities. – Significant amounts of overtime, including forced overtime. More than twice as much as other KS correctional facilities. – Low morale. Two-thirds of staff told us morale was low, including almost 80% of those who had worked 5- 10 years. 26

27 Culture of Expedience and Convenience Examples cited earlier: – Hiring before background checks completed/ignoring results – Doors propped open or unlocked Management exempted itself from security protocols – No metal detector – Cell phones permitted in faciltiy Only about half the staff thought management was committed to safety and security. (Compared to 80% at the state’s other juvenile facility.) 27

28 Culture of Expedience and Convenience Survey comments: – “Policies related to safety and security are consistently followed by staff only if it’s convenient.” – “A lot of times staff do things that work at the time. Not policy.” – “Officers do what is convenient for them, which means leaving doors open and going in control rooms, etc…” 28

29 Addressing Safety and Security Problems Management did not lead formal reviews of security incidents as required to identify and correct problems. – No formal reviews since 2005. – None of the incidents I talked about earlier were reviewed. Additional examples of incidents not reviewed: – Two separate brawls in Spring 2011 in which the offenders were cited for rioting behavior – A near escape by a juvenile in September 2011 – A near race riot at an assembly on MLK Day in January 2012 29

30 Addressing Safety and Security Problems Management has known about the problems for years but has failed to address the problems. – Internal emails showed that KJCC superintendents and officials at the Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA) have discussed many of these issues for years. – Internal reviews by JJA staff cited problems with poor supervision of offenders, unsecured doors, and other security issues. – Our previous performance audits (1989, 1994) showed the same problems. 30

31 Addressing Safety and Security Problems 31

32 The Aftermath The Juvenile Justice Authority was required to submit a plan to the Legislature for addressing the security issues. JJA provides monthly progress reports to the Legislature through our committee. Our committee plans to have us conduct a follow- up audit in 2014. 32

33 The Aftermath Superintendent of KJCC fired just before the audit Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Juvenile Justice Authority fired during the audit On July 1, the Juvenile Justice Authority will be merged with the state Department of Corrections 33

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