The Department of Justice Can Do More To Help Improve Conditions at State and Local Correctional Facilities

Gao ID: GGD-80-77 September 15, 1980

Unsafe, unsanitary conditions in many State prisons and local jails endanger the health and well-being of inmates, correctional staff, and visitors. Correctional institutions need adequate maintenance programs, trained personnel, and inspection programs which can detect deficiencies and ensure that they are corrected. Problem areas include fire prevention, food preparation and storage, accident prevention, hygiene, temperature and light levels, pest control, and air quality. The responsibility for improving conditions rests primarily with State and local governments, but there is a need for increased Federal participation. There are five Department of Justice agencies involved with conditions in prisons and jails: the Civil Rights Division, the Marshals Service, the Bureau of Prisons, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), and the National Institute of Corrections. These agencies can assist State and local correctional officials in improving health and safety standards in their prisons and jails.


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