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Experience for a fresh start

Putting "RVA" First !!! 

 

Deputy Training

There is a constant need for updates on training due to the growing and ever changing profession of law enforcement.

In my first "90" days I will partner with The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Department of Criminal Justice Services and The Richmond Police Department in implementing a training program that will provide a plan of action. The goal of these partnerships and training would be ensure that the Sheriff’s department is adequately prepared for emergency response in case of a natural disaster, active shooters, protests, mass arrest etc. as well as provide a greater level of consistency between the various agencies and organizations.

It is necessary for the Sheriff’s Office to be knowledgeable and trained in immigration policies and procedures.  This training could be a partnership with Homeland Security.

There was an article written by the Richmond Times Dispatch that stated the City Sheriff will face monetary sanctions for not preserving video evidence in a case of an inmate who died at the Richmond Justice Center. That is evidence of the lack of training and skills needed to perform the necessary functions of the Sheriff's Office

As Richmond City Sheriff, all Internal Affairs deputies will be regarding such matters as   Legal Issues, Evidence and Theme Presentation, Interview and Interrogations and Report Writing.  This training will be provided through The Department of Criminal Justice Services and/or any other training facilities that offer such training.   This type of training could prevent the Sheriff’s department from facing monetary sanctions for improperly handling data, documents and evidence.

I will also provide continuing education and skill enhancement opportunities that will aide all deputies with re-certifications as needed for their specific job duties.



Mental Health Reform

Sheriff's Offices around the country, to include the Richmond Sheriff's Office are in need of Mental Health Reform. Many inmates that are incarcerated in the City Jail have mental health issues and the lack of training and preparation of staff members can lead to serious injuries and/or death to those inmates.

As Sheriff, in my first "90" days I will partner with VCU Criminal Justice Program to assist in mapping out other strategies for mental health reform. Most programs today are grant funded with little or no cost to the agency.
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As Sheriff I will incorporate Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for all Sheriff's Office Sworn employees. This training will provide deputies with skills necessary to appropriately respond to psychiatric crises and to humanely interact with persons with a mental illness. This is a 40 -hour course that is approved by The Department of Criminal Justice Services. It's comprised of classroom and practical exercises given by mental health professionals. The CIT program is grant funded through the Department of Criminal Justice Services and no cost to the agency.

There is also a need for trained and qualified medical personnel available to respond with the appropriate action during incidents with an inmate with mental health issues. Through proper management of medication and monitoring of such inmates we can eliminate instances where other inmates and/or staff members are injured, hospital stays from physical assaults and even deaths.



Deputy/Employee Morale

Deputy morale is at its lowest in Sheriff"s Office history. Deputies are leaving in record numbers going to other agencies. There are no incentives for hard working deputies that have served the Sheriff's Office with fortitude and loyalty. There is no clear path to career development and personal growth for employees.

Deputy morale will also be the first priority for me as Sheriff. My objective is to reduce the loss of the department trained and talented deputy base.   I will put in place a team building committee whose focus is on improving employee morale by implementing projects and team building exercises for the entire department.

I will also put in place a promotion/career advancement process that will be fair and true without prejudice. As Sheriff, promotions will be based on qualifications and experience. An incentives program will be based on exceptional work ethics and performance and provide opportunities pay enhancements.

I believe that a positive work environment will have lasting effects and will give employees confidence in the agency. As Sheriff I will work towards creating such an environment.



Inmate Health Care

Some people who become inmates of the Justice Center may enter the facility with existing medical conditions  and/or mental health issues which they may not have been diagnosed or treated prior to incarceration.  

As sheriff, I would like to reduce the possibilities of an inmate’s medical/mental  conditions going un-diagnosed, misdiagnosed and/or untreated.  Not having proper physical/mental care for inmates would have an effect on our health care system and could result in lawsuits stemming from wrongdoing and what could be considered neglect.  During a medical emergency, response time can be the difference between life and death.

I would propose a plan to have medically trained personnel assigned to post within the inmate housing areas. There is a need for more advanced medical personnel available immediately. Deputies are only trained in basic First Aid/CPR.

There is also a need to put in place some type of medication management system, that would be administered by medical professionals who are also knowledgeable in substance abuse. I would also reach out to VCU as well as the other hospitals to augment the practices are already in place as well develop and implement a plan that could be enhanced by the utilizing of certified nurses/physician assistants to service the needs of inmate health care.



Safety and Security of the Jail and Courthouses

The Justice Center and the courthouses should be considered high risk facilities and the security of those facilities should not be jeopardized by the entry of contraband such as drugs, weapons and any other unauthorized items. Contraband can enter the jail through employees, visitors and inmates that leave and return to these facilities.  The total disregard for security can lead to overdoses, serious bodily harm and even inmate deaths.

As Sheriff, I will focus on safety and security of all facilities. First we must get fully staffed as an agency, we must get deputies properly trained in their job assignment and be consistent in following policy and procedure.

It will be standard practice that permanent employees and contracted employees will be searched upon arrival to work and as they come and go throughout the day. Inmates who are allowed to leave will be search before leaving the facility and after they return to the facility.

This is the first line of defense to keeping our facilities safe and secured.

In addition, there are inmates that enter into the city jail that can barely speak English or can't speak English at all. We must provide services to be sure that the communication is effective. We must prevent such language barriers between inmates, deputies, and other contracted staff (medical staff). Without proper communication, we leave the door open for unreported assaults(sexual & physical), missed medical treatment/diagnosis, unreported problems within the housing unit and improper identification. I propose to hire a certified translator for the jail. 

We must also protect our LGBT community as well by making certain all employees are properly trained in PREA (prison rape elimination act), to make sure that they are classified properly into a housing unit and to maintain a LGBT liaison officer to be a resource between law enforcement and the community. 

We must provide a safe and secure facility for all. 


Partnerships

Violet Crimes rose 17 percent in 2016 and due to the surge in gun violence in 2017, The Richmond Sheriff's Office need to utilize its resources to help reduce crime in our city.

When I am Sheriff, I will reach out to The Richmond Police Department, VCU Police Department, The Commonwealth Attorney's Office and The Mayor's Office to develop a plan on how the Sheriff's Office can GET INVOLVED with helping to make our city a safer place for all.  The Sheriff’s Office has many resources available that's currently not in use. Such as marked Sheriff vehicles used to assist in being visible throughout the community. Creating a task force to assist Richmond Police and VCU Police in maintaining safer streets within the city neighborhoods, with minimal cost to the agency.



Community Outreach and Justice Center Programs

First and foremost we must look at the current programs that are offered at the Justice Center and evaluate the effectiveness of those programs in helping inmates with their reentry into the community as well as help RVA save our children.  In order to get the best efforts in program operations, I would partner with such organizations as Richmond Public Schools, Social Workers, Community and Civic Associations and Colleges and Universities.

There are some current re-entry recidivism programs, drug addiction/rehabilitation and faith-based affiliated programs at the jail have had great success thus there is a need to continue these programs.

As Sheriff, I would  maintain, promote and enhance the continuing education program within the Justice Center for the residents.  The Justice Center residents will have opportunities to obtain their GED, take life skill classes, entrepreneurship workshops and job preparedness training as well as participate in other programs that can be used upon their reentry into the community.  Classes such as these can build self esteem and confidence along with providing purpose and hope.


I believe having healthy family relationships will help to overcome circumstances that can lead to incarceration.

It would be my objective to develop Community Outreach programs that are "Family Focused."  The goal of a “Family Focused” outreach program would be to provide opportunities and options to the inmate’s family members which could be the type of support inmate’s and family members may need in order to prevent them from entering the pipeline to prison.  

These programs will be brought about through partnerships with others agencies and would include summer youth academies, homework program, sports and recreational activities as well as providing methods for building and sustaining healthy relationships with the incarcerated parent.  The objective of this type of community outreach would also provide opportunities for family focused organized activities. The end result of Family Focused Community Outreach program is to build relationships, character and self-esteem.

I would introduce a program called "90 Day Success Program". This program would be considered a wrap-around program with four phases:

Phase I- Self Exploration- where individuals would received workshops on conflict resolution, stress management, character building, faith based support and success coaching

Phase II- Preparation Stage- where individuals would receive training and workshops in resume writing, interview techniques, how to register for classes/college courses, how to fill out job applications, entrepreneurship and learning different life skills and crafting of talents

Phase III- Readiness Stage- where individuals would receive  and learn about the many resources available to them; such as Social Services, Richmond Housing Development Authority, Department of Motor Vehicles, Probation/Parole and Richmond Behavioral Health Authority. We would explore housing options, transportation, and any other necessary needs for everyday living. We would invite business owners in to conduct job interviews and reach out to organizations that sponsor higher education. 

Phase IV- Follow-up Phase

This phase is the most crucial phase of all, it's where we have to provide the necessary resources after incarceration. I would propose a partnership with local civic associations to be the liaison between the Sheriff's Office and the individuals. This would allow for those individuals to have a resource to go to when in need. 



Authorized and Paid for by Friends of Nicole Jackson
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