In the early 1990's the taxpayers of Black Hawk County voted to build and staff one of the largest jails in the state of Iowa. This vote was not without it's opposition, but in 1995, the Sheriff's Office opened the new jail with sworn law enforcement officers at the helm. Today, our jail demonstrates one of the largest inmate populations in the state, and many demands and liabilities as a result. With such a resource and asset within the Sheriff's Office, we recognize the obligation to ensure that our efforts are effective and budgetarily sound.
Now, our jail officers are attending more training than ever before. Through technology, we have improved the quality of video recording, we have added process and procedures that ensure we have fewer problems within the housing areas. We have invested in the division to ensure that the employees and the facility is operating at its highest potential. We have used inmate labor to make maintenance and routine improvements on the facility to reduce taxpayer funding for upkeep of the facility as well.
We utilize a 20-fold increase in jail programming to ensure that inmates are not just kept out of society, but they are educated, mentored, and worked with to help reduce the rate of recidivism in our facility in the future. Examples of the programming now available to inmates of the Black Hawk County Jail:
-GED (General Education Development) -Celebrate Recovery
-BEP (Batterer's Education Program) -Faith-based Substance Abuse Programming
-Bible Study/Church Services -Counseling Programming
-Life Skills Programming -Mentorship Programming
-Faith-based Re-entry Programming -Mental Health Group Programming
-Inmate Work Crew Programming
-NA/AA (Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous)
As a result of this increased focus and effort, our jail grievances, lawsuits, and negative incidents have dramatically reduced (to near non-existence) over the past three years. We do continue to assess our policies, our procedures, and our efforts to ensure that we are reflecting the most professional image, the most responsible application of our resources, and ensure that our operation is always above and beyond reproach in such a manner that the citizens of Black Hawk County can be justifiably proud.