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Staff/Inmate Ratios in Jails

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

Last Updated May 2014




What is the recommended inmate to staff ratio for  jails?




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.


Here are some jail staffing analysis resources:


Staffing Analysis Workbook for Jails  (016827) 

Prison Staffing Analysis:  A Training Manual with Staffing Considerations for Special Populations  (022667)                   

Staff/Inmate Ratios: Why It's So Hard to Get to the Bottom Line  (007105)                

Rod Miller's Staffing Analysis Methodology and Tools Staff Analysis Clearinghouse  (025880)                



The Numbers Game -- Understanding Staffing Ratios  (015920)

Allocation and Deployment of Personnel  (016683)