August 21, 2018
The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA) and its members are dedicated to maintaining the highest level of quality, safety, security and staff professionalism within Oregon’s county jail facilities. Through partnership with the communities we serve, Oregon’s sheriffs and staff ensure that Oregon’s county jail facilities fully adhere to state standards for local correctional facilities (ORS 169.076). The OSSA and our members are proud to serve the public while consistently meeting or exceeding the high standards required under Oregon law. The OSSA and its members believe that Oregon’s statutory jail standards are a vital tool toward driving ongoing improvement in jail operations, management and safety.
In 2018, all 36 Oregon sheriffs and their jail facilities were 100 percent compliant in meeting or exceeding Oregon’s statutory jail standards requirements. These statutory standards are broadly as follows:
- Maintaining staffing and administrative processes to ensure efficient management and functional operations of the jail
- Maintaining basic standards of quality, safety and security to ensure inmates’ rights are protected and needs are met, including regular healthy meals, adequate and appropriate medical care, free exercise of religion, access to legal resources, and access to materials for personal hygiene
- Ensuring that jail staff and inmates are provided with a safe environment
While the OSSA and its members are proud that all of Oregon’s county jails are fully compliant under state law, we are also dedicated to continuous improvement and best practices. Toward that, the OSSA has independently developed a higher set of jail standards and practices which have been adopted by all Oregon sheriffs. Goals for these voluntary, enhanced standards and practices are broadly as follows:
- Increased staffing and enhanced administrative standards to improve management and operations within jail facilities, including (but not limited to), specialized training for staff, streamlined processing for inmate admission, release and transfers, inmate rules and disciplinary procedures, and implementation of culturally appropriate and modernized processes for inmates to file grievances
- Addition of enhanced measures to improve inmates’ quality of care and decrease recidivism rates, including access to education, legal aid, and extensive modern rehabilitation programming to treat mental and behavioral health issues
- Continued development and implementation of proactive measures to improve staff and inmate safety, facility security, and overall supervision standards, including (but not limited to) enhanced surveillance measures, contraband searches and protocols, and emergency preparedness plans
The OSSA and Oregon’s sheriffs have elected to hold our jails to a higher standard than required by the Oregon Revised Statutes. We have done so by developing and implementing enhanced standards, at significant cost, to ensure Oregon’s communities are well served. These standards reflect best practices and accreditation standards utilized by law enforcement and public safety agencies interested in going above and beyond baseline requirements. Our enhanced standards are propriety and maintained by this body. These enhanced standards are voluntarily adopted by Oregon’s county sheriffs and are not required by law.
OSSA and its members recognize the continual need for improvement and innovation within our jail systems, and we are fully committed to the development of data-driven solutions that are embodied in our enhanced standards. We are proud that Oregon’s sheriffs make significant annual progress toward our own exacting goals.
Sheriff John Bishop (Ret.)
Executive Director, Oregon State Sheriffs Association