“Direct Supervision” is a
method of inmate management developed by the federal government in 1974
for pre-sentenced inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This method
has slowly been adopted by county jails since 1981. There are about
140 such facilities operating throughout the country and a few hundred
currently in construction.
"Direct Supervision" method places a single deputy directly
in a housing pod with a group of inmates generally ranging from 32 to
64 in number. A basic tenet of "Direct Supervision" is that
we assume rational behavior and treat the inmates as adult human beings.
The deputy provides supervision and leadership while the inmates are
expected to follow direction and behave.
is a very low threshold for unacceptable behavior. Inmates who do not
behave, in accordance with the rules, will be locked into an unpainted
"hard cell" for 23 hours a day. On the other hand, inmates
who behave and follow direction are given a high degree of freedom within
the housing pod's recreational area anytime during the day or evening.
(The recreational area includes lounge seating, a television, passive
recreational activities, educational programs, etc.).