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New Generation Jails - An Innovative Approach to an Age-Old Problem 

New Leadership Delivering Results for Our Community

NCJ Number





S H Gettinger

Date Published





31 pages


This report describes methods to create new, more functional jails through architecture, personnel training, and community education.


New generation jails can alleviate traditional incarceration problems in several ways. Officers, after a period of retraining, 'live' with inmates 24 hours a day, thus eliminating areas and times when inmates are in control. Also, the tension level among inmates is reduced by the direct and constant presence of officers. Architectural design of the jail and management reduce noise levels. Low morale among staff members is reduced by attention to developing their leadership skills and giving them more authority. Inmates have access to many and different kinds of activities without special escorts. Officers are equipped with phones and daily prisoner information in order to better respond to prisoner needs. Staff use privileges positively for effective management. Costs of new generation jails are less than conventional jails. Vandalism and discipline problems resulting in segregation are reduced. Under a new streamlined system, pretrail release is available to eligible inmates. New generation jails seek to manage human behavior according to the following psychological approaches: reducing fear through assuring personal safety for inmates and staff, providing privacy, providing officer rather than inmate leadership, relaying positive expectations, and reducing isolation from the outside world. Although there is no standard design, new generation jails have in common: security concentrated on the outside of the building; few barriers within the building, with unobtrusive security devices and no bars; living units of manageable size, built with standard materials and decorated with attractive furnishings; contact between staff and inmates, with uncontrolled movement within the unit. Photographs are included.

Additional Details

Sponsoring Agency

National Institute of Corrections 


320 First Street, NW, Washington, DC 20534, United States

Sale Source

National Institute of Justice/ 


Box 6000, Dept F, Rockville, MD 20849, United States

NCJRS Photocopy Services 


Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000, United States




United States of America

US Justice Department

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