The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has established a Detentions Bureau Compliance Section that reviews, develops, and revises policies to ensure they are consistent with regulations, statutes, and case law. The Compliance Section also contains the Programs/AB109 unit. Under the umbrella of the Compliance Section, the Programs Unit works in collaboration with several community-based organizations and other governmental agencies to provide educational, vocational, and evidence- based programs to the in-custody population. The Compliance Section is comprised of one Detentions Lieutenant, three Detentions Sergeants, two Senior Detentions Deputies, three Detentions Deputies, eight Program Specialists, one Program Technician, and three Sheriff’s Support Technicians. Under the direction of the Lerdo Facilities Division Commander, the Compliance Lieutenant is responsible for identifying and prioritizing tasks performed by the Compliance Section, and for the development of the annual proposed budget of the Compliance Section.
Compliance conducts ongoing review and revision of existing policy as well as development of new policy at the bureau level. Policy sections are reviewed to ensure that they are compliant with current law and regulation, that they accurately convey the intent of management and administration, and that they provide meaningful guidance to the Bureau’s employees. This function also includes consulting with other sections regarding revisions to sectional policies.
In addition, the Compliance Section conducts performance audits to ensure that actual practices in the jail facilities are consistent with written policy and procedures. Generally, each audit is focused on a particular section of Detentions Bureau policy. Each policy objective (i.e. directive, required action, prohibited action, etc.) is individually measured for each incident audited. Incidents are randomly selected in a large enough number to provide statistical reliability. For each policy objective, a percentage rate of compliance is calculated. These audits provide managers with empirical information regarding compliance with the established standards. Audits that demonstrate less than desired compliance rate are later re-audited, giving managers feedback on the effectiveness of their corrective actions.
Compliance also conducts incident reviews of any inmate death or escape and certain suicide attempts with the intent of determining if any changes to policy or training would improve the response to future incidents. A panel consisting of representatives from the affected sections is convened to examine the incident and provided recommendations. These recommendations are documented in a report, which is forwarded to the Detentions Bureau Chief Deputy for review.
The Compliance Section tracks and routes all inmate grievances and frequently assists in the production inmate records and other documents in relation to California Public Records Act requests. The Compliance Section Lieutenant also serves as the designated PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) Coordinator and Radiation Safety Officer for the Detentions Bureau.