Evaluation of Two Jail-Based Initiatives in LA County: Improving Health, Safety, and Wellness of Corrections Officers and Inmates — LA County Sheriffs’ Department (LASD)

Project Purpose/Goal

The project goal was to conduct two evaluations: an outcome evaluation of a community policing model in one module of the LA County Jails to assess its efficacy in improving community policing, procedural justice, and health, safety, and wellness outcomes, and the other to conduct a process evaluation of gender-responsive programming in the LA County Women’s Jail (Century Regional Detention Facility or CRDF).

Approach, Results and Implications

The Police Foundation implemented the evaluation based on the “Town Sheriff” model, an employee-nominated program for addressing grievances and inmate concerns, in one jail module which housed gay, bisexual, and transgender inmates to evaluate its impact on a number of health, safety, and wellness outcomes for both inmates and sheriffs’ deputies.  The results demonstrated a reduction in overall grievances filed as a result of the model, as well as a higher proportion of grievances resolved.

In the women’s facility, we documented a series of efforts by the LASD to be more responsive to the needs of women, with particular emphasis on pregnant females in custody or those for whom babies were delivered while the mothers were in custody. This evaluation demonstrated the importance of employing a gender-responsive advocate in order to better meet the health and safety needs for mothers and babies, given the number of incarcerated pregnant women at any given time in the LA jail.

In early 2019, we will submit our final report to the California Endowment whose investment in this effort was part of their larger effort to improve health and safety of California residents. It is suggested that such programs can serve as a model of community policing for other jails to address these important needs, and/or adapt them for their local concerns and jail populations.

Funding & Collaboration

This was funded by the California Endowment with a grant to the Police Foundation to conduct the research with the LASD (under a Memorandum of Understanding) effective, February 2016. The work was completed in 2018, and the final report submitted to the funder in 2019.

Points of Contact:

Karen L. Amendola, PhD
Chief Behavioral Scientist
National Police Foundation
kamendola@policefoundation.org

Maria Valdovinos, MA (doctoral candidate)
Senior Research Associate
National Police Foundation
mvaldovinos@policefoundation.org

Keywords:

Community policing in jails, gender-responsive programming for inmates, inmate health and safety, correctional officer health and safety, jail safety

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