Jail Services

Managing Idaho’s Jail System Justly and Professionally

One of the most important roles of Idaho’s sheriffs is managing the 37 jails throughout the state. Our sheriffs and their jail administrative staff handle every aspect of running an effective jail. This includes a wide range of services and responsibilities such as enforcing rigorous safety protocols, inmate transportation and processing, food services, recreational protocols, visitation management, and so many other areas. Idaho’s sheriffs take pride in achieving and maintaining the highest of professional standards. As a whole we work cooperatively with other law enforcement entities and with the judicial system throughout the state.

The purpose of our facilities is to lawfully detain individuals charged in the violation of State and all applicable laws. All inmates entrusted to its care are treated fairly and justly without regard to their race, gender, religion, age or social status. The health, safety and well being of these individuals are absolute. This is maintained by providing a nutritional diet and adequate medical care. As a whole, all of our sheriffs and their staff recognize the responsibility to the citizens of our communities to operate the jail facility in the most cost effective manner possible.

The Idaho Sheriffs’ Association, as a representative of our sheriffs, engages in various activities to support the overall jail system in Idaho. This work is conducted through two key committees.

Jail Standards Committee

The Jail Standards Committee consists of numerous sheriffs, jail commanders, six commissioners, a Department of Correction representative and POST representative.

The committee meets at least twice a year to discuss updates to the Jail Standards Manual and Jail Standards Inspection Form and any other pertinent issues regarding existing jail problems. Jail Standards were implemented in 1978 for the purpose of professionalizing Idaho jails and to potentially forestall litigation regarding constitutional conditions.

Categories included within the standards are: Administration, Organization and Management, Fiscal Management, Personnel, Training and Staff Development, Facility Information Systems, Fire Safety and Emergency Procedures, Security and Control, Special Management Inmates, Food Service, Sanitation and Hygiene, Health Care Services, Inmate Rights, Inmate Rules and Discipline, Communication, Mail and Visiting, Admission and Release, Classification, Inmate Services and Programs, Physical Plant, Health Services-Physical Facilities and Work Release.

Jail Inspections

Each of Idaho’s 37 jails are inspected annually for compliance to jail standards. The inspection process includes 328 inspection categories, either recommended or mandatory. The inspector will work with jail staff to develop a compliance plan if the jail fails inspection. Once a jail is in compliance they are issued an annual Certificate of Compliance. The inspection process is not mandated by the state, but is a voluntary program that has garnered 100% support by Idaho sheriffs since its inception.

The inspection process has been valuable in pointing out training needs, physical plant deficits and reducing litigation by maintaining a proactive stance in providing constitutional treatment of inmates.