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					       US Department of Justice
        National Institute of Corrections
                  Jail Division
              NIC TA-07J1102




      Nacogdoches County
Local Justice System Assessment


                     Technical Assistance
                       Provided to the

  Leadership of the Justice Agencies and Units of
 Government Operating the Justice System Within
          Nacogdoches County, Texas
                                by




                       NIC Consultants
                       Robert Cushman
                        Mark Cunniff




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                                      NIC Report September 2007

                                              Table of Contents

Introduction..............................................................................................................5
  Request for Technical Assistance .....................................................................5
  Coordination of the Visit and Selection of Consultants ...............................5
  Pre Site Visit Preparation ...................................................................................6
  The Consultant’s Approach to This NIC Assignment..................................7
Results of Preliminary Analyses...........................................................................8
  1. Explaining Jail Crowding: Analysis of the Source of Jail Crowding......8
  2. Jail Bed Utilization ..........................................................................................9
  3. Justice System Trend Analysis....................................................................10
  4. The Comparative Analysis ..........................................................................11
Findings and Observations..................................................................................14
     1. Many good things are happening .........................................................14
     2. The jail is crowded and showing the effects of crowding.................15
     3. How the jail space is being used is not well understood ..................16
     4. The purpose of the jail is not clear ........................................................16
     5. The Nacogdoches criminal justice system is overloaded..................16
     6. Almost everyone expressed dissatisfaction with the current
     functioning of the Nacogdoches criminal justice system.......................18
     7. Problem with timeliness and availability of adequate defense
     services............................................................................................................18
     8. Crime rate low but justice processing indicators are elevated.........19
     9. The County has a high jail incarceration rate......................................19
     10. Nacogdoches County uses the jail differently ...................................20
     11. The existing jail information system cannot produce appropriate
     analytical reports...........................................................................................21
     12. There are systemwide analysis limitations.........................................21
     13. Justice agencies are organizationally isolated from one another....22
     15. Getting cases “paper ready” – as an analogy.....................................23
     16. Systemwide planning and coordination need attention ..................24
     17. Public not being sufficiently engaged .................................................25
     18. Commitment and capability to change is uneven.............................25
Recommended Strategy .......................................................................................26
  Adopt a New Business Model ........................................................................26
  The Danger of Expanding the Number of People Under Supervision....27
Consultant Recommendations............................................................................29
     1. Form a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee ............................29
     2. Provide strong staff support to the CJCC ............................................30
     3. Adopt a formal planning process..........................................................30
     4. Examine decision making at the seven key justice system decision
     points...............................................................................................................31
     5. Implement the recommended Data Analysis Plan ............................31
     6. Establish a jail population analysis capability ....................................32
     7. Complete a Sanctions and Services Matrix..........................................33


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                                      NIC Report September 2007

   8. Define the purposes of the jail ...............................................................34
   9. Define the operational capacity of the jail ...........................................34
   10. Promulgate a corrections strategy........................................................35
   11. Engage the public....................................................................................35
   12. Invest first in improving the planning, management and
   information handling infrastructure..........................................................36
   13. Make use of NIC resources....................................................................36
Appendixes ............................................................................................................37

A         Introductory Letter                                                                                  A-1
B         List of People Who Were Interviewed                                                                  B-1
C         Community Meeting Agenda & List of Attendees                                                         C-1
D         Explaining Jail Crowding in Nacogdoches County.                                                      D-1
E         Jail Bed Utilization Analysis                                                                        E-1
F         Criminal Justice Trends Analysis                                                                     F-1
G         Comparative Analysis                                                                                 G-1
H         Data Analysis Plan                                                                                   H-1
I         Guide to Creating a Corrections Control and Services Matrix                                          I-1
J         Visual Aids Used at the Community Meeting                                                            J-1




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                           NIC Report September 2007




Introduction
This report will summarize technical assistance provided to the criminal
justice agencies operating within Nacogdoches County, Texas.

This section of the report describes the request for technical assistance,
explains how the consultants were selected, and sets forth the objectives
for the technical assistance that were agreed upon. It then summarizes the
work that was done by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC)
consultants prior to the site visit, and describes the consultant’s approach
to the assignment. The remainder of this report presents findings,
consultant observations and recommendations.

Request for Technical Assistance

NIC consultants Bob Cushman and Mark Cunniff conducted a Local
Justice System Assessment in Nacogdoches County, Texas September 11th
through September 13th, 2007. The technical assistance was provided in
response to a written request from local officials.1 Workload growth,
especially jail crowding, was described as the presenting problem.

Coordination of the Visit and Selection of Consultants

Fran Zandi, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of
Corrections, Jails Division, Washington, D.C., coordinated this technical
assistance for the NIC. Nacogdoches County officials selected consultants
Bob Cushman and Mark Cunniff from a list of NIC technical assistance
resource persons provided by the NIC. 2 Under direction from Joe English,
County Judge and Sheriff Thomas Kerss, Ms. Carole Moon and Chief
Deputy, Doug Richardson scheduled the consultant interviews,3 organized
the community meeting4, gathered and forwarded data and reports and
handled the logistics of the visit.




1
  Letters requesting the NIC sponsored technical assistance were received from: Joe
English, County Judge; Thomas Kerss, Sheriff; Dorothy Brown, Director, District
Probation Department; Stephanie K. Stephens, District Attorney; Jim Jeffers, City
Manager, City of Nacogdoches; Karla DeLuca, Editor & Publisher, Daily Sentinel
2
  Brief biographies appear in the Introductory Letter, Appendix A, pages A-7 and A- 8.
3
  The interview list appears in Appendix B.
4
  The agenda for the Community Meeting appears in Appendix C, pages C2-3.


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                           NIC Report September 2007




Pre Site Visit Preparation

Following initial phone conversations with County Judge, Joe English, NIC
Consultant Bob Cushman prepared a letter outlining a proposed statement
of work to guide the visit.5 The letter was sent to each person who
requested the technical assistance.

Thereafter, the NIC consultants prepared four draft analyses. These drafts
were transmitted, in advance of the site visit, to each person who had
requested the technical assistance. The four analyses appear as appendixes
to this report. They are titled:

     Explaining Jail Crowding: An Analysis of Changes in the Number of
      Bookings/Admissions and Average Length of Inmate Stays in the
      Nacogdoches County Jail System6.

     Jail Bed Utilization Analysis: Comparing July 1 to July 28 of 2001 and
      2007 7

     Criminal Justice Trends: Nacogdoches County and Statewide 8

     A Comparative Analysis f Crime and Justice Processing Indicators and
      Measures: Nacogdoches County Compared to Six Other Texas Counties: A
      Diagnostic Worksheet.9

Chief Deputy Doug Richardson provided Consultant Cushman with
historical counts of the number of bookings and average daily jail
population. These data were used to prepare an historical analysis of how
changes in admissions and changes in the length of inmate stays drive jail
occupancy levels (as reported in Explaining Jail Crowding. 10

Chief Deputy Richardson also provided Consultant Mark Cunniff with
data about inmates who left the jail during the months of July 2001 and
July 2007. Consultant Cunniff processed and analyzed the data, prior to

5
  A copy of the introductory letter appears in Appendix A.
6
   Explaining Jail Crowding appears as Appendix D.
7
   The Jail Bed Utilization Analysis appears as Appendix E.
8
   The Criminal Justice Trends Analysis appears as Appendix F.
9
   The Comparative Analysis appears as Appendix G.
10
   This analysis is presented in Appendix D.


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                            NIC Report September 2007

the site visit, and the result (The Jail Utilization Analysis 11) was distributed
to local officials prior to the site visit. This made it possible to discuss the
jail utilization report data during some of the interviews.12

The NIC consultants also examined Nacogdoches County population
trends, and crime, adult arrest and other justice processing indicators and
measures (as presented in Criminal Justice Trends 13 and in the Comparative
Analysis 14) Most of this information came from sources available on the
Internet.

There was extensive exchange of e-mail correspondence with state and
local justice agencies and the two NIC consultants.


The Consultant’s Approach to This NIC Assignment

The main focus of the three-day onsite visit 15 was to help local officials
better cope with crowding in the Nacogdoches County jail system. The
assignment required exploration of the relationship between the jail and
the operations of the local justice system. Thereafter, the NIC Consultants
concentrated on defining a series of inter-related recommendations to
better manage crowding and improve the administration of justice.

During the first day, the NIC consultants toured the jail and conducted
interviews. They continued interviewing on the second day. The NIC
consultants interviewed staff and key criminal justice policy makers in law
enforcement, prosecution, defense, the judiciary, and probation officials.
Officials of general government were also interviewed.16

From 8 AM to approximately 3 PM of the third and last day of the on-site
visit was devoted to a Community Meeting attended by approximately
thirty people. Each person who had been interviewed was invited to the
meeting. 17
11
   The Jail Bed Utilization Analysis is presented in Appendix E.
12
   The Jail Bed Utilization Analysis is presented in Appendix E. Copies of the visual aids
that were presented during the group meeting appear in Appendix J.
13
   The Criminal Justice Trends Analysis appears in Appendix F.
14
   The Criminal Justice Trends Analysis appears in Appendix F.
15
   The visit was limited by time and budget constraints. The consultants were provided
with two days prep time, three days on site, and 2 days report writing time. At this level
of effort, the Local Justice System Assessment was limited in scope.
16
   A list of the people who were interviewed appear in Appendix B.
17
   The people who attended the Community Meeting are listed in Appendix C, page C1.
A list of the people who were interviewed appears in Appendix B. An annotated copy of
the Community Meeting agenda appears in Appendix C, pages C2-3. Copies of the
visual aids that were presented during the meeting appear at Appendix J.


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                             NIC Report September 2007


The Group Meeting was designed to feed back what people in the
interviews had been saying to the NIC Consultants (without attribution).
It gave the NIC consultants an opportunity to explain the population
dynamics that drive justice system and jail crowding and case congestion.
It provided a forum for the NIC consultants to describe how other
jurisdictions in the country are dealing with increasing jail populations, as
well as other problems related to the administration of the justice system.
The NIC consultants also presented their observations and
recommendations.

Preparation of this report represents the final step in the consultant
approach to this assignment.

The remainder of this report presents findings, consultant observations
and recommendations. It summarizes the information and observations
that were developed during the site visit, the interviews, the community
meeting, and the pre and post site-visit review of written materials.

Appendixes to this report contain tools, guides and supporting material.

Results of Preliminary Analyses
The four analyses that were prepared in advance of the site visit provided
the consultants with a great deal of useful diagnostic information to inform
the line of inquiry during the site visit. The key findings follow:

1. Explaining Jail Crowding: Analysis of the Source of Jail
Crowding

Understanding the dynamic interaction between the number of bookings
and average length of stay is important. It provides the framework for
managing the size and composition of the jail population of the future.

The Analysis titled Explaining Jail Crowding: An Analysis of Changes in the
Number of Bookings/Admissions and Average Length of Inmate Stays in the
Nacogdoches County Jail System 18examines a recent 24-month period in
which the jail population ranged from a low of 230 inmates to a high of 339
inmates. It shows how changes in the number of bookings and length of
inmate stays produced these fluctuations in the average daily jail
population.


18
     The analysis: “Explaining Jail Crowding” appears as Appendix D.


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                           NIC Report September 2007

The analysis demonstrates the technical requirements for managing
crowding. 19 For example, it shows that the average daily jail population
could be reduced to its design capacity (292 beds) if there were ten fewer
monthly bookings (2.5% reduction) and the average length of stay could be
reduced by 1 day (5%).

This would make it unnecessary to house inmates out of the county.

The basic message: The analysis shows that the number of people in jail at
any given time is a function of how fast they arrive at the jail (bookings)
and how long they stay. It shows how data can be used to determine why
and how jail population occupancy levels have changed. It demonstrates
how the number of people in jail and the composition of that population
can be managed and better controlled.

The booking/length of stay analysis provides a “template” with
instructions for extending the data into the future. It will allow
Nacogdoches County to determine whether changes in jail occupancy
levels are being driven by a change in the number of bookings or changes
in the length of inmate stays. It will provide information that is needed to
help manage jail occupancy levels.

2. Jail Bed Utilization

The second analysis, titled Jail Bed Utilization Analysis 20, extends this
notion that the number of bookings and average length of inmate stays
drive the jail average daily population. This analysis examines the
number of bookings and bed day consumption of various categories of
inmates. The analysis demonstrates how changes in the number of
bookings and lengths of stay of these inmate subcategories have changed
the size and composition of the daily jail population.

Consultant Cunniff analyzed data concerning every inmate who left the
jail in July 2001 and July 2007. The purpose of this analysis was to illustrate
a basic, straightforward method for detecting changes in how the jail is
being used. 21


19
   More detailed additional information will be found in two basic publications:
Preventing Jail Crowding: A Practical Guide, available in .PDF format at:
http://nicic.org/Library/016720; and Jail Crowding: Understanding Jail Population
Dynamics, available in .PDF format at: http://nicic.org/Library/017209
20
   The Jail Bed Utilization Analysis is presented in Appendix E.
21
   This analysis appears in Appendix F. Note the one month samples at two different
points in time does not guarantee representative accuracy of results. The samples are
small and the months might not be typical.


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                              NIC Report September 2007

It shows the jail is being used differently now than in 2001. The analysis
shows increases in jail bed space demand came from:

         Inmates who spent 30 to 90 days in jail;
         Faster increase for women than for men;
         More out of county Texas residents;
         More admissions from the Sheriff’s Department; fewer from the City
          of Nacogdoches;
         Inmates transferred to other law enforcement agencies;
         Inmates with a compliance issues (bench warrant, probation/parole,
          violation, etc.);
         Inmates with multiple charges;
         Inmates with drug offenses as their primary (most serious) charge;
         Inmates charge with crimes against the person, mostly domestic
          violence;
         Inmates charge with motor vehicle related offenses, mainly drunk
          driving;
         Inmates charge with misdemeanors, rather than felonies;

Additional detail appears in Appendix E.

The basic message: The Jail Bed Utilization analysis shows that the
number of bookings and lengths of stay of a large variety of inmate types
have changed between 2001 and 2007. The jail is being used differently
than before. The jail bed space consumption patterns have changed.

The Jail Bed Utilization analysis serves as a template or example of an
analysis that needs to be repeated periodically, using at least three months
of data from two or more time periods.

3. Justice System Trend Analysis

The Criminal Justice Trends Analysis, completed by Consultant Cunniff
analyzed county population, crime, adult arrest and court filing and
related trends over the past few years. 22 The purpose of this analysis was
to examine the growth of the jail population within a context of changes in
these other justice system indicators and measures.

The analysis shows:

       The Nacogdoches County crime rate declined during the period
        2000-2006, while the statewide crime rate increased slightly;

22
     The Justice Trends Analysis appears in Appendix F.


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                       NIC Report September 2007


    The number of adult arrests remained about the same in
     Nacogdoches County. The number of Part I Index (most serious
     offenses) arrests declined in number while Part II adult arrests
     increased. In contrast, the state numbers increased during this
     period and the State Part I adult arrests increased by a larger
     percentage than the statewide Part II adult arrests;

    The number of criminal filings in District Court and County level
     courts operating within Nacogdoches County increased much faster
     than statewide;

    The number of people on probation in Nacogdoches County
     increased sharply while the number statewide declined;

    New admissions to state prison from Nacogdoches County grew
     slowly compared to the statewide increase;

    State Jail admissions from Nacogdoches County increased
     substantially, in contrast to a statewide decrease;

    Jail bookings increased 3% per year between 2003 and 2006. Data on
     average daily population or the average length of stay were not
     available so comparisons with statewide averages were not possible.

The basic message: These trends do not support the view that the general
County population has become more criminogenic. Instead, the increase
in the demand for criminal justice services appears to stem from changes
in the response of the criminal justice system. It appears that a larger
number of people have been placed under correctional supervision, under
more stringent behavioral requirements, and for longer periods of time.

See Appendix F for more justice trends analysis detail.


4. The Comparative Analysis

The comparative analysis was completed to provide a context within
which to examine the justice system operating within Nacogdoches
County. It provides basic justice system diagnostics.




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                            NIC Report September 2007

This analysis 23 compares Nacogdoches County crime and criminal justice
indicators with six other Texas counties, a composite county made up of
the average rates per 10,000 of each of the six comparison counties 24, and
statewide averages. It shows:

Crimes:
The number of Nacogdoches County Index crimes per 10,000 population
in 2005 was 34% higher than the 6 county average, and 31% lower than the
statewide average; 25

Adult Arrests:
The number of Nacogdoches County adult arrests per 10,000 population in
2005 was 45% higher than the 6 county average, and 23% above the
statewide average;26

Criminal Case Filings:
The number of District Court criminal case filings per 10,000 population
in FY05-06 was 107% higher than the 6 county average, and 94% above
than the statewide average; 27

The number of County level criminal case filings per 10,000 population in
FY05-06 was 79% higher than the 6 county average and 83% above the
statewide average; 28

Convictions:
The number of District Court criminal convictions per 10,000 population
in FY-5-06 was 110% higher than the 6 county average, and 42% above
than the statewide average; 29

The number of County level criminal convictions per 10,000 population in
FY05-06 was 205% higher than the 6 county average, and 113% above the
statewide average;




23
   The Comparative Analysis of Crime and Justice Processing Indicators and Measures
appears as Appendix G.
24
   The six comparison counties include the three counties just smaller and just larger in
population size. They are: VanZandt, Anderson, Wise, Starr, Walker and Rockwall
counties.
25
   Appendix G, column 4.
26
   Appendix G, column 10.
27
   Appendix G, column 19.
28
   Appendix G, column 35
29
   Appendix G, column 28


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                           NIC Report September 2007


Criminal Case Backlog:
At the current pace, and with no new filings, it would take 1.2 years to
dispose of District Court criminal case backlog; 30

At the current pace, and with no new filings, it would take 1.6 years to
dispose of the County level court criminal case backlog;

Adults Under Correctional Supervision:
The number of people in jail and on direct or indirect probation
supervision in Nacogdoches County, per 10,000 population, was 0.1%
higher than the 6 county average, and 76% above the statewide average;31

The Nacogdoches County jail capacity (292) per 10,000 population was
25% higher than the 6 county average, and 48% above the statewide
average; 32

The number of inmates in the Nacogdoches County jail on June 1 2007
(287) was 88% higher than the 6 county average and 83% above the
statewide average. 33 The Nacogdoches County jail incarceration rate
ranks 11th of the 254 counties in Texas.34

The basic message: Even though they all administer justice under the
same state statutory framework, the comparative analysis clearly shows
that Texas counties administer justice differently. Each locality has
developed its own, unique local legal culture. These policy-driven
differences have workload and expenditure consequences.

Most of Nacogdoches County rates are higher than the 6 county average
rates and the statewide rates, and some are elevated far above these
comparative benchmarks. The general picture is that the Nacogdoches
county rates become more elevated the deeper cases and people penetrate
into the justice system.




30
   Appendix G, column 23.
31
   Appendix G, column 50.
32
   Appendix G, column 52.
33
   Appendix G, column 54
34
   Source: Texas Commission on Jail Standards. See:
http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/incar.pdf



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                          NIC Report September 2007


Findings and Observations
The primary task of our consultancy has been to help local officials
restructure and reconceptualize their perceptions of the nature of the
problem. This is akin to asking the client to look at the current situation
through a new lens. The following frank discussion of consultant findings
and observations is intended to lead toward this result. The
recommendations that flow from these findings and observations appear
in a subsequent section of this report.35

1. Many good things are happening

The nature of the consultant assignment has been to identify problems.
However, there are lots of positives. We begin, therefore, with citation of
some of these accomplishments.

     • There is new and vigorous leadership, supported by capable and
       engaged personnel.

     • The people who were interviewed were open, candid, asked good
       questions and seemed genuinely interested in improving the
       administration of the justice system operating within Nacogdoches
       County.

     • The Nacogdoches Sentinel36 and Station KTRE devoted substantial
       coverage to the NIC visit and appear dedicated to informing and
       engaging the public. Articles about jail crowding also appeared in
       the Scott Henson web log.

     • A number of new programs have been initiated and others are being
       considered. Officials want to discover and emulate best practices.

     • Officials have toured programs and facilities in neighboring
       counties, looking for better methods;




35
   These observations and recommendations were presented and discussed at the
Community Meeting.
36
   A number of newspaper articles were written by Michael Rodden of the Nacogdoches
Sentinel http://www.dailysentinel.com Donna McCollum of KTRE produced articles
and video describing the NIC visit http://www.ktre.com A weblog by Scott Henson
(www.gritsforbreakfast.org) provided commentary about the NIC visit along with
recommendations for action by local officials.


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                            NIC Report September 2007

     • Officials have deliberately taken a “time out” to allow time to assess
       and better understand the current situation rather than initiate an
       endless trial and error approach to program development.

     • It took courage to invite in a couple of independent NIC consultants
       to do this work. This is a sign of trust, of open government, and
       good government.

Despite these very positive findings, the consultants also frankly present
observations and findings about substantial problem areas, discussed
below.

2. The jail is crowded and showing the effects of crowding

The County is renting jail beds from other counties in an attempt to control
crowding at the Nacogdoches County jail. The monthly average number
of people being housed out of county fluctuates but is gradually growing.
The Nacogdoches County jail continues to operate above its operational
capacity37 and close to its design capacity of 292 inmates.

The jail and the jail addition is an aging, outmoded structure that is
gradually wearing out. It shows a lot of wear and tear, and signs of heavy
24/7 usage. The linear design was out of date before the jail was even
opened. The expansion is also out of date, architecturally. This makes it a
difficult jail to administer.

On the first day of the site visit a total to 7 staff were operating the jail.38
We were told there is a high turnover of jail personnel. 39

By its very nature, the jail is out of sight and not visible to the public, nor
its many users. Jail beds are a scarce, expensive economic resource. A
vacant jail bed is needed to serve as a deterrent. A jail that is full will not
provide that deterrent.


37
   One definition of “operational capacity” is defined as the number of inmates who can
be confined in the jail without violating the inmate classification system. This appears to
be about 280 inmates; however, the Sheriff’s Office has not officially determined and
defined an operational capacity. This needs to be established and established as a jail
capacity limit.
38
   Two additional employees were not present. One was out ill, and another was
occupied with some other duty. The consultants were told that 7 is the minimum
staffing permitted by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
39
   About one-third of County employees turn over each year. It is higher at the jail. See:
“Commissioners Propose Tax Hike to Cover Raises” Nacogdoches Sentinel article by
Michael Rodden, September 2, 2007.


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                            NIC Report September 2007

3. How the jail space is being used is not well understood

Utilization of the Jail bed space resource is not well understood by justice
system officials, general officials of county and city governments, or the
public. There is a lot of data about individual inmates, but difficulty
turning that data into useful information about how the facility is being
used.

4. The purpose of the jail is not clear

Nacogdoches County has not defined the jail as a limited purpose facility.
Almost anyone can be admitted. The jail is used to house a wide range of
inmate types. A very wide variety of federal, immigration, out of state,
state, and local inmates reside there. It is a mixture of three distinct groups:
“people we are afraid of, people we are upset with and people we do not
know what to do with.”

More clearly defining the purpose of the jail is a first step in managing the
flow into the jail and the length of stay. This will help define the number
and composition of the jail population. Until and unless this is done, the
jail will remain crowded.

5. The Nacogdoches criminal justice system is overloaded

It is not simply a case of jail crowding. The entire justice system operating
within Nacogdoches County is overloaded.40 Justice agencies report they
are straining to keep up with a rising tide of cases and people flowing
through the seven key justice system decision points from arrest to final
disposition.41 The data reflects that this is so. On most measures, the
number of cases per 10,000 population in Nacogdoches County is
substantially above the average of six comparison counties and statewide
averages. 42 The public and private non-profit agencies that provide
services to offenders in jail and on probation also report they are operating
at or beyond their capacities.

Officials are consumed with the task of disposing of cases. Officials say
they are uncomfortable with the compromises they seem forced to make.

40
   The overloading may be more noticeable at the jail because there are steel and
concrete boundaries to the structure.
41
   The seven key justice system decision points were presented and discussed at the
community meeting. See Appendix J. pages J6-14. They are also briefly discussed in:
Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee at pages 16 & 17, cited
earlier in this report.
42
   See Appendix G for a comparative analysis of crime and justice system indicators and
measures.


                                             16
                        NIC Report September 2007

There is immense workload pressure to make decisions just to move
cases—so much so that achieving dispositions is gradually replacing other
values and becoming a goal of the system. The need to reduce jail
crowding, too, is gradually being elevated to the status of a goal.

The system has become dependent upon offender fees for financing.
This is because it craves additional resources. This is having unintended
consequences. For example, a number of people who were interviewed
note that the financial requirements being placed on many offenders sets
them up for failure to comply with an aggregate of payments: court fees,
fines, restitution, probation fees, fees for a variety of treatment programs,
and, perhaps, child support and other obligations.

Non-compliance is a growing problem. When these offenders fail to meet
these obligations they are in violation of a court order. They may stop
reporting to a probation officer because they know they cannot make the
payments or meet their many other requirements. All this generates more
work for the system and, indeed, the data confirms that non-compliance is
a growing problem. This will not show up in fresh arrests but, rather, in an
increase in jail admissions for failure to comply with a court order, and in
an increase in technical probation violations. The system may be starting to
feed on itself.

The system is becoming more risk averse. The interviews and the data
analyses show that the system is becoming more risk averse.

For example, the interviews reveal that the number of personal
recognizance bonds has declined noticeably. The consultants were told
that two of the four Justices of the Peace rarely issue a PR bond.

As another example, we learned that, as of September 1, 2007, HB2391
gave local law enforcement discretion to issue citations to persons who
have been arrested on low level non-violent misdemeanor matters.
Ordinarily these people would be transported to the jail. Now they can
simply receive a summons to appear in court. The City of Nacogdoches
has begun to use the summons procedure. The Sheriff’s Office has not.

We cannot determine whether the system has become more risk averse
because of the growth in the non-compliance, noted above, or for other
reasons. This trend, though, has system workload and expenditure
consequences.

Current strategy not working. The predominant view, the predominant
strategy for coping with the crushing workload is to seek additional
resources, add jail beds, and add program capacity. This represents a near


                                      17
                             NIC Report September 2007

singular strategy aimed at trying to outrun growth by adding capacity. But
the system is up against substantial resource limits and the strategy is not
working.

6. Almost everyone expressed dissatisfaction with the current functioning of
the Nacogdoches criminal justice system

Many of the people who were interviewed were unhappy with the way
the justice system is operating. There were many anecdotes. For example,
more than one person complained that the process of getting state prison
bound inmates “paper ready” took too long. Many pointed out what they
perceived to be inequities between and among judges in granting Personal
Recognizance release (PR), setting bail and sentencing. Many believe the
court appearances could be streamlined; there were too many
continuances, and often-overlapping jurisdiction of multiple cases that
could be consolidated.

Too much staff time seems to be spent on exceptions, on cases and people
that fall through the cracks, on fixing mistakes, etc. Many expressed
frustration at not being able to get accurate, timely information from
existing information systems and from other organizational units. These
are indicators that the system is under stress.

7. Problem with timeliness and availability of adequate defense services.

The comparative analysis shows the number of convictions per 10,000
population is elevated well above the six county average and the statewide
average, while the number of dismissals/acquittals per 10,000 is much
lower than the comparative benchmarks.43 While this could be the result of
careful case screening and case preparation, it is more likely the result of a
diminished role of defense counsel. There is no public defender office.
Finding people to serve as Court appointed counsel is difficult. If counsel
were to appear earlier in the process it might be possible to dispose of
cases earlier. Despite these problems, expenditures for defense services
approach $500,000 per year.

One barrier to solving this problem is the local belief that any
improvement in defense services would further delay case processing,
because defense attorneys are believed to rely on delay as a defense tactic.




43
     Appendix G, Comparative Analysis, columns 28-31 and columns 42-46.


                                           18
                            NIC Report September 2007


8. Crime rate low but justice processing indicators are elevated

The criminal justice trend data 44shows that the number of Nacogdoches
County Part I UCR (serious crimes) reported to law enforcement declined
by 3.1% per year between 2000 and 2006, despite population growth. In
contrast, the number of crimes statewide grew during this period. This
means the Nacogdoches County population is less criminogenic now than
in 2000. The measure of serious crime has actually gone down.

The demographics of the County show the crime prone segment of the
county population will remain virtually unchanged between 2000 and
2010. This should mitigate workload growth.

However, as noted in the previous section of this report, many other
indicators of case processing increased between 2000 and 2006, despite the
decrease in the crime rate.45 And, today, most of these rates are elevated
well above the six county average and the statewide average. The
divergence from these comparison benchmarks seems to become more
pronounced as cases penetrate deeper into the system; for example, the
number of court filings per 10,000 population and the number of people in
custody are much higher than the comparison benchmarks.46

This appears to stem from changes in criminal justice policy within
Nacogdoches County. It does not appear to be driven by a change in the
behavior of the criminal population.

9. The County has a high jail incarceration rate

The Nacogdoches County Jail Incarceration rate ranked 11th of the 254
Texas Counties, as of June 1, 2007, according to the Texas Commission on
Jail Standards. On that date there were 287 people in the Nacogdoches
County Jail System. The Nacogdoches County Jail Incarceration rate per
10,000 is 88% higher than the average rate of 6 comparison counties that
are similar in size to Nacogdoches County and the Nacogdoches County
jail incarceration rate is 83% above the statewide average rate. 47

There is significant month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter variation in
the number of jail bookings and the average length of jail stay. These
fluctuations appear to stem from changes in decision-making about cases

44
   Appendix F, Criminal Justice Trends Analysis, table 3
45
   These trends are set forth in the Criminal Justice Trends Analysis, Appendix G.
46
   See Appendix G, Comparative Analysis.
47
   Appendix G, column 54.


                                            19
                           NIC Report September 2007

and people as they make their passage through the seven key justice
system decision points 48, not erratic swings in the behavior of the criminal
population.

10. Nacogdoches County uses the jail differently


                       Nacogdoches County vs. Statewide
                         Composition of Jail Population
                      by Legal Status on August 1, 2007 49

                                                                             Nacogdoches
                                                                                  less
                                                                                 State
                                                        State      State           %
                    Nacogdoches       Nacogdoches       Wide       Wide       Difference
                      8/1/07            8/1/07         8/1/07     8/1/07       8/1/07
                         N                %               N         %
 Felons                     122              48%        31717       44%                3%
  Pretrial                   73              29%         24577      34%               -6%
  Convicted                  37              14%          5530        8%               7%
  Convic Co. Jail            12               5%          1610        2%               2%
 ParoleViolators             21               8%          5598        8%               0%
   Violators                 12               5%          2553        4%               1%
   New charge                 9               4%          3045        4%              -1%
 Misd.                       93              36%        12002       17%               20%
  Pretrial                   39              15%          7409      10%                5%
  Convicted                  54              21%          4593        6%              15%
 BenchWarrant                 3               1%           986        1%               0%
 Federal                      0               0%          8113      11%              -11%
 StateJailFelons             44              17%          8518      12%                5%
  Pretrial                   23               9%          5333        7%               2%
  Conv Co. Jail               3               1%          1887        3%              -1%
  Conv. St. Jail             18               7%          1298        2%               5%
 Others                       5               2%          2578        4%              -2%
 Total                      256             100%         71704     100%                0%
 Local                      256             100%         58653      82%               18%
 Contract                     0               0%         13051      18%              -18%



There is pretty good information on the legal status of inmates in jails
throughout Texas. But, in Nacogdoches County, other than this basic

48
  The seven key justice system decision points were discussed during the community
meeting. They are described in Appendix J, page J6-14 and briefly described at pages 16
& 17 of Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.
49

 Source: Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Jail Population Report August 1, 2007
 http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/abrerpt.pdf



                                           20
                               NIC Report September 2007

information, there is little to describe how the jail bed space is being used,
who is in the jail, the length of stay of various prisoner types, their bed
space consumption, and so forth.

The table, above, shows the broad legal classifications of prisoners in the
Nacogdoches County Jail on August 1, 2007 and the statewide comparison.
It shows that Nacogdoches County uses the jail differently than statewide.

The differences are a reflection of the aggregate policy choices made by
officials who operate the local justice system. There is nothing inherently
improper about this; it is simply an empirical expression of the result of
local choices. But, it does have workload and expenditure consequences.

11. The existing jail information system cannot produce appropriate
analytical reports.

The existing jail information system has difficulty providing the most basic
of information. For example, the system was unable to provide the
consultants with the average daily jail population prior to August 2005.
This is why the booking and length of stay analysis (See Appendix D)
covers only the most recent 24-month period.

Similarly, the Jail Bed Utilization Analysis was constrained by the inability
of the jail information system to produce an electronic file for analysis. The
County had to send a printout to consultant Cunniff and he had to enter
data by hand. The organization of the data on the print out also had to be
aggregated into categories before the analysis could begin.

Personnel who are responsible for jail operations do not have the tools
needed to show how changes in the number of bookings and/or lengths of
inmate stays are driving the jail population higher (or lower). And, until
now, they have not had the conceptual framework needed to perform
these analyses.

12. There are systemwide analysis limitations

The limited ability to analyze and define problems at the jail also extends
to the rest of the justice system. There are distinct weaknesses in ability to
collect, analyze, and communicate information about the processing of
cases and people through the seven key justice system points 50 that were
discussed during the group meeting.



50
     The seven key justice system decision points are illustrated in Appendix J, pages J6-14


                                               21
                            NIC Report September 2007

These weaknesses exist at several levels of government: at the agency
level, the City and County level, and particularly at the comprehensive
level represented by the justice system operating within Nacogdoches
County.

Few staff are dedicated to this function. There is a need for further staff
development of the few existing analysts. The NIC consultants provided
several examples of the kind of analysis that these analysts will need to be
able to produce. 51

13. Justice agencies are organizationally isolated from one another

Like all counties, the justice system operating within Nacogdoches County
is composed of an array of independently elected and appointed officials
of city, county, state and federal levels of government, operating within
independent executive, judicial and legislative branches of government.

In an earlier day, when Nacogdoches County was smaller and the justice
system less complicated, local officials could rely on personal relationships
and informal communication to see that things ran smoothly. That
tradition no longer works well. More routinized practices and more formal
arrangements are necessary.

Today, the agencies suffer from insufficient communication, cooperation
and coordination across the system. Each agency operates within its own
organizational silo.

The organizational separation is mirrored in separate information systems
that do not talk easily with one another. Further, these information
systems are “case management systems”; that is, they deal with individual
cases. Though they may be able to produce some simple administrative
statistics, they can not provide analyses of groups of cases.

A great deal of work still revolves around paper, not electronic output,
and the information interface between and among agencies does not work
well enough. There is a good deal of redundancy in data entry, and
procedure. These conditions present substantial inefficiencies. They serve
to frustrate the leadership.

These things work against a truly systems view of the administration of
justice: They reinforce an “agency centric” approach. The focus is on
specific cases, not an assessment of decision making at the seven key
justice system decision points.

51
     These examples appear in Appendixes D through H.


                                          22
                          NIC Report September 2007


Several of the consultant recommendations are aimed at overcoming these
barriers to improved communication, cooperation and coordination.

14. A systemwide perspective is lacking.

The impact of decisions being made in one agency often affect many other
agencies but the external impact of these decisions are often overlooked.
Many of the solutions to problems raised by the people who were
interviewed require involvement of two or more independent and very
separate agencies and/or levels of government. The organizational
mechanisms needed to bring these separate organizations together to work
collaboratively do not exist. Even line workers who discover systemic
problems often “toil on” because they have no problem solving group to
turn to for help.

At present, officials are forced to make decisions without empirical
information that would suggest alternative courses of action, or to evaluate
the results of their decisions. This leads to indecision/inaction, doubt and
confusion about the true nature of the problems they are trying to address.
It generates unnecessary friction between and among decision makers.
Officials rely too heavily on anecdotal information, or an unusual case or
event that will serve to justify and propel action.

15. Getting cases “paper ready” – as an analogy

Getting Department of Corrections bound cases “paper ready” serves as a
analogy, or example, for the many improvements in basic business
practices that could save a substantial number of jail bed days.

In the course of our interviews, a number of officials made reference to the
amount of time it took to get persons sentenced to the Texas Department
of Corrections (TDC) “paper ready;” i.e., having all the information on
inmates that the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) requires for entry
into its facilities.

Jail staff provided us with a listing of inmates who were sentenced to TDC.
This list contained the sentence date and the date that these inmates were
determined to be“paper ready”.

In the month of July 2007, there were 31 inmates who had been sentenced
to TDC. 52 The amount of time required from the sentence date to the

52
  There was one inmate who had a “white warrant” that was not included in this
analysis.


                                         23
                            NIC Report September 2007

”paper ready” date ranged from 25 days to 62 days. The average elapsed
time from being sentenced to being “paper ready” was 43.6 days.53 In the
analysis of jail bed utilization that we conducted, the average length of
stay for persons being transferred to TDC was 101 days54. This means that
getting an inmate “paper ready” takes almost as much time as it takes to
get the inmate adjudicated and sentenced. 55

There was little information about why the “paper ready” process was so
time consuming.56 Some of the persons interviewed indicated that
paperwork had to be reviewed by several officials. There was the belief
that this paperwork could sit on people’s desks for extended periods of
time before the requisite action was taken. Others indicated difficulties in
obtaining the information required by TDC. Clearly more information
about the process of getting an inmate “paper ready” should be gathered.
Any shortening in the elapsed time for getting inmates paper ready could
generate substantial jail bed savings and could reduce or eliminate the
county’s need to contract out for bed space.

Many people who were interviewed blamed the Texas Department of
Corrections for the back up of state prisoners in the Nacogdoches County
jail. Yet, between 2000 and 2006 there was no change in the demand for jail
beds associated with persons being transferred to the Texas Department of
Corrections.57 Thus, this example serves to illustrate the tendency to
externalize the source of a problem that also has roots in local policy and
practice.

16. Systemwide planning and coordination need attention

The consultants believe that the extent to which staff are consumed with
dealing with cases that fall through the cracks, with exceptions, with fire-
fighting, etc. is a direct indication of weaknesses in policy, program and
operational planning processes. This suggests that improved planning
and coordination could reduce the need to do this “fire-fighting”.

53
   This average is an underestimate of the elapsed time as four of these inmates were still
not paper ready as of 9/11/07. Their elapsed times were computed using their sentence
date and 9/11/07 (the date the roster was generated). Their actual elapsed time will be
longer based on when they actually become paper ready.
54
   Appendix E, Jail Bed Utilization Analysis, page E-21.
55
   Getting paper ready consumes 43% of time that a TDC bound inmate takes from time
of booking to their transfer to TDC. Although two different cohorts are being used here,
the matching of the data does give a valid insight to the impact of getting an inmate
paper ready on the demand for jail bed space.
56
   Think about getting an inter-agency problem solving group together to diagram and
detail all the steps involved in getting a case “paper ready”, then charge them with
developing a way to improve the process.
57
   Appendix E, Jail Bed Utilization Analysis, page E- 3, item #6.


                                            24
                           NIC Report September 2007


At the Community Meeting the consultants presented an 11-step General
Planning process or planning framework that distinguished policy
planning from program planning and operational planning. This leads to
several interconnected recommendations, discussed later in this report.

17. Public not being sufficiently engaged

Earlier, we mentioned that there isn’t a thorough understanding of who is
in the jail, how long they stay, and the bed space consumption of various
prisoner types. Without this understanding there is no way to inform and
engage the public in a process in which they can express their preferences
for the use of jail bed space. There are similar impediments to engaging
the public though out the local justice system.

The community meeting revealed there are many myths and
misunderstandings of how the justice system operates, and a certain level
of distrust at not being able to obtain answers to some pretty basic
questions.58

The Nacogdoches Sentinel newspaper and KTRE both demonstrated
interest in helping to both inform and engage the public. For example, the
Nacogdoches Sentinel polled its readership, as follows:




18. Commitment and capability to change is uneven

The interviews revealed some strong, committed leadership interspersed
with others who have a much lower sense of urgency, commitment,
optimism or enthusiasm. The changes that will be necessary will require
their participation. This raises questions about whether the overall
capability exists to execute the changes that are needed. The question is:
“Can management rise to the occasion”? Does it have the capability and,


58
  The Nacogdoches Sentinel also ran a “Crime Fighting Quiz” at their website. Many
citizens could not correctly answer a few basic questions about the operation of the
justice system in Nacogdoches County.


                                          25
                              NIC Report September 2007

if not, how can organizational and individual competencies be
strengthened so these challenges can be met successfully.

We were told that about one-third of County personnel turn over each
year and much of this turnover is at the jail. The consultants also noticed
that officials are so busy processing cases that it has affected training, staff
development and other capacity building efforts. Officials do not have the
time to seek out examples of best practices in other jurisdictions, nor the
“think time” they need to do future oriented planning. These conditions
serve to constrain the individual and organizational competencies that will
be needed to better manage jail crowding and initiate other improvements
in the administration of justice.

Recommended Strategy
Adopt a New Business Model

The NIC consultants are recommending adoption of a new business
model. The current predominant strategy is to attempt to outrun the
workload by continually adding new resources. The new, proposed
strategy involves managing the size and composition of the workload of
the justice system within resource limits. This business model stresses
development of the planning, management and information-handling
infrastructure, before adding more clerks, probation officers, jail beds, and
judges.

Jail crowding was the presenting problem that first brought the
consultants to Nacogdoches County. It turns out that the technical
requirements for reducing the jail population to the jail’s designed and/or
operational capacity are straight-forward: 59

          The jail population could be reduced to its design capacity
          (292) by reducing bookings by 2.5% and reducing the
          average length of stay by 5%.

          The jail population could be reduced to its operational
          capacity (280) if the number of monthly admissions were
          reduced by 5% and the average length of jail stays could
          be reduced by 1.4 days.

These are modest objectives and might be achieved easily, if:


59
     The technical requirements are set forth in Appendix D, pages 8 & 9.


                                             26
                        NIC Report September 2007

   1. The mechanisms that are necessary to manage the number of
      bookings and length of inmate stays are put into place; that is, the
      necessary data handling and information reporting tools are put
      into place; and,
   2. Management can effectively implement what ever courses of action
      are decided upon; and,
   3. The politics can be managed.

The reaction of certain officials during the interviews and at the
Community Meeting demonstrated that managerial and political
challenges exist that may be difficult to overcome.

For example, implementation of the approach that is being recommended
means making choices and setting priorities. This is going to be difficult.
This will require collaboration between and among agencies. The
mechanisms needed to come to these agreements do not yet exist. Also,
officials are not yet experienced at this priority-setting decision making
process.

In addition, some of the interviews and commentary at the Community
Meeting revealed a belief that reducing the number of bookings or length
of jail stay is too much of a compromise because it means “reducing
offender punishment”.

Of course, these reductions in bookings and lengths of stay should not be
arbitrary. Certain inmate subgroups should be targeted. This is a matter of
choice. Further, reducing the number of bookings and/or length of stay
does not necessarily automatically mean offenders would not be
sanctioned. They could be routed to other non-custodial sanctioning
options and services. Persons who are now serving weekend sentences in
jail might be handled this way, for example.

Fortunately, the political difficulties involved in making choices can be
avoided all together, even if only initially, by concentrating on achieving
efficiencies that can be produced by improvements in basic business
practices that now slow down case processing. For example, reducing the
time between when a person is sentenced to prison and when a person is
“paper ready” would save a substantial number of jail bed days.

The Danger of Expanding the Number of People Under
Supervision

The biggest danger, given the current environment, is that new non-
custodial options, sanctions and services might be financed and quickly fill


                                     27
                            NIC Report September 2007

to capacity. At the same time, implementation of these other options might
not reduce the number of people in jail, because additional inmates would
simply fill up any available bed space or the average length of jail stay
would increase to absorb the vacated bed space. This would simply
expand the number of people under correctional supervision without
impacting jail crowding.

This outcome is much more common than one would think.60 Plans,
expectations and agreements need to be put into place to prevent it from
happening in Nacogdoches County.

It will be important, therefore, to specify in advance, the specific
segment(s) of the jail population that will be the target of any new
program(s), and the expected bed day savings for each inmate group.

Then it will be necessary to continuously monitor the effectiveness of the
program(s) at reducing the bed day consumption of that specific segment
of the jail population. A pass-fail evaluation will not do. This must be a
continuous evaluation, so the program operators get continuous feedback
and can make any necessary adjustments and refinements that may be
needed to improve the effectiveness of the new option, sanction or service.

Continued financing of the new option, sanction or service should be
contingent upon achieving its stated objectives.

Earlier in this report, we mentioned the need to view the current situation
through a new lens: It is not helpful to define crowding as a “jail problem”.
Nor is it helpful to describe jail crowding as “the Sheriff’s problem”. It is
not even appropriate to describe it as a “County” problem.

Jail crowding is not a problem to be solved; it is a justice system condition
that needs to be continuously managed. It needs to be examined in terms
of the relationship of the jail to its many users. Jail crowding has system-
wide causes and requires continuous management in the form of
interagency and intergovernmental policy, program and operation
planning and coordination. This notion leads to several interconnected
recommendations.



60
   Several of the people who were interviewed told us that Smith County (Tyler) had
initiated an “alternatives” to jail program. Unless the proper feedback and evaluation
mechanisms are put in place, these new programs may not turn out to actually serve as
“alternatives” to jail. In some cases they may be in addition to jail, or supplant other
probation options, or simply expand the number of adults under some form of
correctional supervision.


                                           28
                        NIC Report September 2007




Consultant Recommendations
Successfully implementing these recommendations will not only help
manage jail crowding, it will improve the administration of the entire
justice system operating within Nacogdoches County.

1. Form a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee

The justice system operating within Nacogdoches County consists of many
different justice agencies, at differing levels of government (city, county,
state) and within the three branches of government: executive, judicial,
legislative. Controlling the size and character of the workload can only be
accomplished through increased communication, cooperation and
coordination. It requires that a “system” perspective be developed to knit
together the separate information system and organizational “silos” that
characterize the current approach. The new perspective must also
preserve the constitutional independence and prerogatives of all the
parties involved.

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) should be
legitimized and established by County Ordinance or Resolution.

Membership should include the key justice system policy makers,
including city, county, state and perhaps, Federal officials, and the three
branches of government.

The purpose of the CJCC should be to improve system-wide
communication, cooperation and coordination. The group should serve as
a kind of “board of directors” for the system of justice operating within
Nacogdoches County, serve as a forum in which to examine system
policies and practices, identify system problems, consider and select
alternative courses of action, and evaluate justice processes.

While it may not be appropriate here to spell out the details for the
Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, the general scope of what needs
to be done can easily be described. A Guide has been developed that will
explain how these justice system-wide coordination groups are usually




                                      29
                             NIC Report September 2007

organized and function. 61 Local leadership should obtain free copies of
this guide, study it, and tailor the advice to further establish their own
local coordination group.

 Other jurisdictions in the US have developed successful CJCCs. It
might help to visit with the staff and CJCC leadership in these
counties.

2. Provide strong staff support to the CJCC

The NIC consultants strongly recommend that the Criminal Justice
Coordinating Committee be provided adequate, independent staff
support. It will not function well without skilled
analytical/planner/facilitator support. 62 The staff needs to be
perceived as working for the CJCC, not one of the participating
agencies or units of government.

The Stephen F. Austin State University has resources that might be
leveraged. We recommend establishing liaison with the school of
public administration, criminal justice, sociology, and with
information technology.

3. Adopt a formal planning process

A formal planning process will bring needed discipline to the policy,
program and operational planning process. It should foster a systems
perspective, consider system-wide impacts of new programs and test
assumptions before new programs are initiated. These needs were
discussed during the group meeting.63 Planning should be a
continuous management process and include feedback loops that will
permit evaluation and refinement of justice processes.



61
   See: Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, NIC publication
number 017232, available from the National Institute of Corrections Information Center,
800-877-1461 or send e-mail request to asknicic@nicic.org. The publication is free. An
electronic download PDF version of the publication is also available at:
http://www.nicic.org/pubs/2002/017232.pdf
62
   Staff recruitment, qualifications and typical duties are briefly described at pages 29-30
of Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.
63
   Visual aids used to illustrate policy, program and operational planning appear in
Appendix J, pages J15-17 and at pages 9-15 of Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice
Coordinating Committee.


                                             30
                            NIC Report September 2007



4. Examine decision making at the seven key justice system decision points.

Examining decision making at the seven key justice system decision points
will need to be preceded by development of increased organizational and
individual analytic capabilities. This will require developing the personnel
and systems needed to convert existing data into information that can
better support policy, program and operational decision making.64 These
resources should be focused on illuminating, mirroring back, and
understanding decision making at the seven key justice system decision
points. 65 Examples of the kinds of analyses that need to be produced are
contained in Appendixes D to H of this report. A Data Analysis Plan has
also been included as an appendix to this report. It will serve as a guide.

5. Implement the recommended Data Analysis Plan

Consultant Cunniff has prepared a Data Analysis Plan that will serve as a
suggested blueprint to the main analytic tasks that Nacogdoches County
needs to perform to better understand the dynamics behind the demand
for jail beds and other justice system services. 66 This plan appears as
Appendix H.

The major task is to compute the system rates for the major decision points
in the administration of justice. System rates can be obtained for six of the
seven decision points in Nacogdoches County: booking into the jail;
release from the jail; charging the defendant; adjudicating the charges;
sentencing convicted offenders; and modifying sentences.67 This can be
accomplished by creating a series of data extracts based on persons leaving
the six decision points. Tracking cases as they flow through the justice
system would be more complete, but time consuming and expensive to do.
Information drawn from a series of extracts provides a valid illustration of
case flow and can be accomplished relatively quickly and efficiently.


64
   Policy, Program and Operational planning were discussed at the group meeting. These
are the three levels of planning that are represented on the eleven-step General Planning
Process diagram. See Appendix J. pages J15-17. The concept is also summarized at pp.
10-13 of Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.
65
   The seven key justice system decision points were presented and discussed at the
group meeting. See Appendix J, pages J6-14. An outline of how to go about this work is
presented in the Data Analysis Plan for Nacogdoches County. See Appendix H.
66
   The recommended Data Analysis Plan appears in Appendix H.
67
   The police officers decision to make an arrest is very difficult to measure as there are
no records that would indicate when an officer might have had cause to stop some one,
but declined to do so. Once an arrest is made, however, a record trail is established that
permits the calculation of system rates for the remaining six major decision points.


                                            31
                            NIC Report September 2007

The other task is to analyze the changes that have occurred in the jail
population. 68 Templates for doing this have been prepared and appear as
Appendix D, E and H.

Both analytic tasks should have data from two different time frames that
are at least five years apart. Data from one time period is useful for
understanding how the system is operating at that time. However, the
comparison of findings from two different time frames brings into focus
how the justice system and the jail population may have changed over
time. A full year's reference period would provide a robust data resource,
but lesser time frames can be used (no less than three months) if data
collection costs become an issue.

6. Establish a jail population analysis capability

Nacogdoches County should create and implement a jail population
analysis system (JPAS) 69to document and explain how changes in the
number of bookings and lengths of stay of subpopulations of prisoners
combine to determine the number of people in jail. No new data is
required. The data needed by such a system is already collected and in the
Jail information system. It simply needs to be put into a proper form,
analyzed and routinely reported out.

Understanding these population dynamics is essential to understanding
why the number of people in jail is increasing (or falling). These changes in
admission rates and length of stays are primarily the result of changes in
policy and practice by the main users of the jail. These data need to be
placed in front of these key users if they are to truly understand how jail
space is currently being used, and the impact they are having on the
number of people in jail. 70

Managing the size of the jail system population will depend upon
achieving agreements about changes in justice system policies. This is

68
   The person undertaking these analytic tasks should consult the NIC publication, Jail
Crowding: Understanding Jail Population Dynamics, for additional discussion of analytic
issues involving these two tasks.
69
    A very basic jail population analysis system is described in a short 12-page
publication available free from the National Institute of Corrections. See: Preventing Jail
Crowding: A Practical Guide, NIC publication number 016720, available from the National
Institute of Corrections Information Center, 800-877-1461 or send an e-mail request for
the publication to asknicic@nicic.org. The publication is free. An electronic download
PDF version of the publication is also available at
http://www.nicic.org/pubs/2001/016720.pdf
70
   During the group meeting a “water barrel” analogy was used to present the basic jail
population dynamics and illustrate how a jail population analysis system would
operate. See Appendix J, page J4. See, also, Appendix D.


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                            NIC Report September 2007

because changes in the size of the jail population are primarily the result of
changes in the response of the justice system.

Managing jail system occupancy levels can only be accomplished in three
ways:

      1. Increase bed space capacity;
      2. Decrease admissions; and
      3. Decrease average lengths of inmate stays.

While one or more of these three strategies may be easier, technically or
politically, employing all three strategies will make it easier to manage
the future size of the jail system population.

The JPAS will help Nacogdoches County justice system officials work
together to determine and manage the size and character of the justice
system workload, and diminish the extent to which the workload itself
manages the system.

The basic concepts and a description of what a jail population analysis
system should look like can be found in the NIC publication: Preventing Jail
Crowding: A Practical Guide. 71 See also, Jail Crowding: Understanding Jail
Population Dynamics 72, which provides a framework for analysis and
planning to support effective criminal justice system oversight.

Appendix D contains a spreadsheet template that sorts out how changes in
the number of admissions and/or length of stay change the number of
people in the Nacogdoches County jail. 73 This approach can be utilized
until a more sophisticated, computer-based jail population analysis can be
created in Nacogdoches County.

7. Complete a Sanctions and Services Matrix

Preparation of a sanctions and services matrix is another piece of staff
work that needs to be initiated. The purpose of the sanctions and services

71
   See Preventing Jail Crowding: A Practical Guide, NIC publication number 016720,
available from the National Institute of Corrections Information Center, 800-877-1461 or
send an e-mail request for the publication to asknicic@nicic.org. The publication is free.
An electronic download PDF version of the publication is also available at
http://www.nicic.org/pubs/2001/016720.pdf.
72
   Jail Crowding: Understanding Jail Population Dynamics, January 2002, 60 pp. also
available from the NIC. Accession no. NIC-017209. Sections discuss how to identify
factors behind jail crowding, key questions about bed space needs, trends underlying jail
population growth, forecasting, and analytic processes and roles. 60 pp.
73
   Instructions for completing the template appear at the end of Appendix D.


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                              NIC Report September 2007

matrix is to provide a big-picture view of all of the people under
supervision on a given day. The exercise will also show the capacity of
each sanction and program, and the daily cost of each program and
sanction. These three spreadsheets provide a graphic depiction of the
existing system. They form the basis for identifying gaps in services and
suggest where additional expenditures might make the most sense. 74

The concept was discussed at the community meeting. An example matrix
was presented and discussed. A guide for preparing a Sanctions and
Services Matrix appears in Appendix I.

8. Define the purposes of the jail

Several of the previous recommendations will make it easier to tackle the
difficult job of redefining the purpose(s) of the jail. Better information
about how the jail is currently being used will help officials define the gap
between existing utilization and more desirable, preferred use of the bed
space. Construction of the Sanctions and Services Matrix will make it
easier for officials to determine the proper place of the jail sanction in
context with other sanctions and services.75 Examination of decision
making at the seven key justice system decision points will also help
determine more appropriate and realistic utilization of jail beds.

Initial attempts to define the purposes of the jail will give way to periodic
revisiting of this question as better data becomes available to support
subsequent iterations of the policy planning process. Thus, as time passes,
the answer(s) to this question should become clearer, more restricted, more
refined.

9. Define the operational capacity of the jail

The operational capacity of the jail will be a number that is less than
100 percent of the total number of jail beds. Implementation of this
recommendation should be guided by construction of logical,
defensible arguments to support the definition of operational bed
space capacity. For example, operational capacity might be defined,
in part, as that level of jail occupancy at which adding one more
inmate would force the staff to violate the inmate classification
system. Careful justification is necessary because the operational limit
may eventually have to bear up under intense examination.


74
     A Guide for preparing the matrix appear in Appendix I
75
     Instructions for completing a Sanctions and Services Matrix appear in Appendix I.


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                        NIC Report September 2007

10. Promulgate a corrections strategy

Completion of the Corrections Sanctions and Services Matrix and
discussion of the purposes of the jail should gradually produce the
dialogue needed to better define the Nacogdoches County corrections
strategy, including custodial, residential, probation and other field based
sanctions, services and options. In practice, this corrections strategy will
be expressed by the decisions that are made to place people at various
places on a continuum of sanctions and to assign them to a wide variety of
well thought out correctional programs and services. These decisions will
also be improved through the increased use of assessment and
classification tools as they are developed in Nacogdoches County.

11. Engage the public

The people who feel the jail and court limitations most acutely are the
people who work at the jail and judicial officers and their staff support.
The sense of crisis diminishes rapidly as one goes beyond these groups.

The general public, however, is not yet sufficiently engaged. They need to
know that there is a problem and that officials need their help, and
resources, to better manage the current challenges to public safety and the
integrity of the law.

The public cannot be counted on to support new jail space or new court
space until they know there is a substantial problem and that any and all
perceived excesses have been squeezed out of the current jail/court/justice
system.

 Engaging the public is a collective responsibility but rests primarily with
the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.

The NIC consultants note that successfully engaging the public will
require justice system officials to overcome at least two major
impediments:

   • The friction between justice conservatism (apply sanctions) and
     fiscal conservatism (reduce expenditures) presents a noticeable
     barrier to taking action in Nacogdoches County. The CJCC must
     find ways to negotiate and manage this potential stalemate.

   • The CJCC must convince the public(s) that jail is but one sanction in
     a continuum of sanctions, ranging from secure custody to low level




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                             NIC Report September 2007

        supervision in the community, and that these are ALL legitimate
        sanctioning options, and are being applied properly. 76

12. Invest first in improving the planning, management and information
handling infrastructure.

It should be clear from the forgoing recommendations that the consultants
are recommending the Nacogdoches County justice system invest the next
marginal dollar in improving the planning, management and information-
handling infrastructure of the justice system as opposed to attempting to
outrun the workload by hiring more correctional officers, probation
officers, judges, adding jail beds, etc.

We expect this recommendation to be initially resisted by officials who feel
they are barely keeping their heads above water, but the old strategy of
trying to outrun the workload by adding resources is simply not going to
work. A new business model is being suggested. It will require a dramatic
change in approach and investment.

13. Make use of NIC resources

The National Institute of Corrections should be called upon to provide
additional help in Nacogdoches County:

     • The Pretrial Justice Institute in Washington D.C. can provide NIC
       sponsored technical assistance to assess and help develop pretrial
       programs. 77 Implementing an objective point scale to guide personal
       recognizance bond decisions might increase the number of pretrial
       releases and also improve the ability of these releases to appear in
       court.

     • The NIC can also provide technical assistance to help implement
       case screening at the seven key justice system decision points and
       provide tools and programs that will improve offender risk
       management.

     • The NIC has a number of programs to provide technical assistance
       and training to probation and community corrections staff. These
       are explained in the NIC annual plan. 78
76
   The often heard phrase “alternatives to jail” suggests that jail is the preferred
alternative and other sanctions represent “getting off”, or less than desirable, or a poor
substitute for jail time.
77
   Contact the Pretrial Justice Institute at: 202-638-3080 or at http://www.pretrial.org/
78
   The NIC 2008 Service Plan can be found at: http://nicic.org/Library/022262



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                        NIC Report September 2007


    • The NIC maintains a large library of practical and useful
      publications. Many have been cited elsewhere in this publication.
      You can browse the NIC library at:
      http://www.nicic.org/Features/Library/


Appendixes

A      Introductory Letter                                           A-1
B      List of People Who Were Interviewed                           B-1
C      Community Meeting Agenda & List of Attendees                  C-1
D      Explaining Jail Crowding in Nacogdoches County.               D-1
E      Jail Bed Utilization Analysis                                 E-1
F      Criminal Justice Trends Analysis                              F-1
G      Comparative Analysis                                          G-1
H      Data Analysis Plan                                            H-1
I      Guide to Creating a Corrections Control and Services Matrix   I-1
J      Visual Aids Used at the Community Meeting                     J-1




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NIC Report September 2007




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