The Cass County Correctional Facility is a direct supervision type facility. Direct supervision was started by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the early 1970's. The Contra Costa County Detention facility in Martinez , California was one of the first Correctional Centers to employ a direct supervision management style. Direct Supervision has proven to be safer method of managing inmate populations.
Direct supervision places the Correctional Officers Station within the inmate living area, or pod. By placing the officer in the pod he or she has immediate visual observation of inmates which allows the Officer to deal with problems before they get out of hand. This results in creating a safer environment for both staff and inmates since interaction between inmates is constantly monitored. In addition, Direct Supervision creates a more positive environment and reduces stress level on both Officers and Inmates. Maintenance costs are also reduced in Direct Supervision pods because the close supervision reduces the damage to equipment, furnishing, and walls.
Direct Supervision makes inmates responsible for the quality of their life during their jails sentence. Inmates who demonstrate good behavior are assigned to lower security levels with more privileges. Inmates who demonstrate that they cannot follow the rules are assigned to higher security levels with fewer privileges.
When inmates are initially assigned to a housing unit, they are given an orientation by their Housing Officer. During this orientation, the basic ground rules and expected behavior are explained to the inmate. The inmates are presented with a choice: 1) Behave appropriately and be housed in a relatively desirable general population housing unit; or 2) Behave inappropriately, and spend time in a highly structured, celled housing unit.
In summary, direct supervision involves three important aspects. First, the inmates are aware that they are being constantly supervised. Second, they are aware that if they create problems they will be quickly removed to a higher custody pod having fewer privileges, such as ability to come out of their cells. Third, they are aware that the officer is backed up by a personal radio alarm system and video monitoring.
Direct supervision design is most relevant to the housing of medium and minimum supervision inmates. These are inmates who are not considered to be violent or disruptive in the jail environment. This design is not usually employed for the supervision of maximum custody inmates.