Community/Hot Topics

Staff/Inmate Ratios in Jails (April 2015)

Tom Reid
posted this on January 10, 2012, 1:18 PM

Neither NIC nor the American Corrections Association in their accreditation standards support staff/inmate ratios as a measurement of adequate staffing, post coverage, or supervision of inmates.  NIC does not make any recommendations in terms of staff/inmate ratios.


The process for determining adequate staffing for a jail facility, and make it defensible, is to conduct a staffing analysis on a facility by facility basis. There are simply too many variables such as physical plant design, level of security, level of programs and activities, state and local standard and statutes, etc. to recommend a specific officer to inmate ratio.


Security vs. Non-Security Filled Positions with Inmates to Staff Ratio (April 2015)

South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), 2015


A Performance-Based Approach to Police Staffing and Allocation

Wilson, Jeremy M., and Alexander Weiss, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), 2014


Inmate to Security Ratio (July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2013)

South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), 2013


Bureau of Prisons: Growing Inmate Crowding Negatively Affects Inmates, Staff, and Infrastructure

A Report to Congressional Requesters, United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), 2012


The Place of Punishment: Variation in the Provision of Inmate Services Staff Across the Punitive Turn [Article]

Phelps, Michelle S., 2012


An Examination of Pennsylvania's Rural County Prison Systems

Zajac, Gary, and Lindsay Kowalski, Pennsylvania State University, 2012


ASCA Responses: Staff to Inmate Ratio Survey (June 2010)

Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), 2010


Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2005

Stephan, James J., Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2008



Jail Staffing Analysis Resources


Staffing Analysis Clearinghouse [Website]

Community Resource Services (CRS, 2014)



Prison Staffing Analysis:  A Training Manual with Staffing Considerations for Special Populations

Camp, Camille Graham, Patricia L. Hardyman, Robert May, and George M. Camp, National Institute of Corrections (NIC), 2008



Staffing Analysis Workbook for Jails

Liebert, Dennis R., and Rod Miller, National Institute of Corrections (NIC), 2003



Staff/Inmate Ratios: Why It's So Hard to Get to the Bottom Line 

Krauth, Barabara, Library Information Specialists, Inc., National Institute of Corrections Information Center (NICIC), 1988