More than 30 correctional employees from North and South Dakota ranging from correctional officers to administrators are seeking guidance on how to improve jail operations.
“It’s not made for everybody, for me what I like about it is it’s a challenge. You go into it every day, you see different people every single day, it’s a different challenge every day,” said Lt. Anthony Owens, with the Ward County Juvenile Detention Center.
A regional training provided by National Institute for Jail Operations trained participants on the proper guidelines and principles when running a jail system.
“Jails are the largest liability in county government. From a taxpayer’s perspective, we want to make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” said Tate McCotter, executive director of National Institute for Jail Operations.
Owens said he will take what he has learned in the training and share it with members of his team.
“It’s a different way of looking at things and different ideas on how to go about treating the residents,” Owens said.
Joshua Arnold, National Institute for Jail Operations director of operations, said correctional officers wear many different hats.
“We’re teaching about the mental health aspect or the inmate population. More and more inmates are coming in with not just the medical issues, but mental health issues,” Arnold said.
Arnold said some situations can be dangerous for officers on duty and this training helps them to remain calm.
“When inmates give an obvious problem or there’s an obviously emergency situation, we teach that it’s good for officers to take good action, good positive action,” Arnold said.
McCotter also said at a time like this with jail systems having high turnover rates, it’s important for jails with a shortage of staff to participate.