Unlocking Change: Transforming Corrections through Strategic Inmate Management and Engaging Environments with Sheriff Wayne Dicky
In this podcast episode, Brian Lee and Wayne Dicky discuss the importance of meeting the needs of incarcerated individuals and how our assumptions about rule-breaking can hinder effective management. They emphasize that sometimes people break rules to survive, and it’s essential to create an environment that addresses those underlying needs. The conversation touches on the concept of direct supervision, highlighting that it’s more than just a floor plan—it’s a management philosophy and approach to treating and managing people. They also introduce the idea of strategic inmate management (SIM), which combines direct supervision principles and inmate behavior management (IBM) elements. SIM focuses on using the available tools and resources to manage behavior effectively regardless of the physical layout of the facility. The discussion also addresses the mindset of building minimum-security jails and the importance of creating engaging environments with structured activities to prevent property damage and maintain cleanliness. Wayne Dicky shares examples of transitioning from intermittent supervision to proactive supervision and the positive impact it had on inmate behavior. Overall, the conversation emphasizes the significance of considering inmates’ needs, implementing effective management philosophies, and promoting a positive culture within correctional facilities.
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Sheriff Wayne Dicky has been employed by the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office for 37 years. He has served the Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer, shift supervisor, facility lieutenant, patrol deputy, jail administrator, and Sheriff. He earned a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership and management at Sam Houston State University. He obtained Texas certification as a Master Peace Officer and Master Jailer. He has held the designation of Certified Jail Manager from the American Jail Association since 2001 and served as Chairman of American Jail Association’s Jail Manager Certification Commission. He earned certification as a Correctional Executive from the American Correctional Association in 2015.
Wayne has served as an adjunct instructor for the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, Texas Commission on Jail Standards, American Jail Association, National Jail Leadership Command Academy, and the Texas Jail Association. He has worked a Technical Resource Provider for the National Institute of Corrections. He graduated in the 23rd class of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) Leadership Command College and the 199th Session of the FBI National Academy. Wayne has been recognized by the Texas Jail Association as a recipient of the Jerry Baggs Leadership Award and inducted into the TJA Hall of Fame. He is a Past-President of both the American Jail Association and the Texas Jail Association.
Brian Lee: Hello and welcome to the 360 Justice Podcast. I’m your host, Brian Lee. Today we have a very special guest, Brazos County Sheriff Wayne Dicky from Brazos County, Texas. Sheriff, how are you doing today?
Wayne Dicky: I’m doing great, Brian. Thanks for having me on the show.
Brian Lee: That’s good. Great to have you on. A little bit of background on Sheriff Dicky. Sheriff Wayne Dicky has been employed by the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office for 37 years. He has served at the Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer, shift supervisor, Lieutenant Patrol, deputy Jail Administrator, and the Sheriff.
Wayne has served as an adjunct instructor for the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, Texas Commission on Jail Standards, American Jail Association, national Jail Leadership Command Academy, and the Texas Jail Association. He graduated in the 23rd class of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Leadership Command College and the 199th session of the FBI National Academy. Pretty impressive, Sheriff. Got a lot of things in your background there to let the guests know.
I’m friends with Sheriff Dicky, used to work with him through the National Institute of Corrections Large Jail Network. And recently ran into him at the Western State Sheriff’s Conference. So, Sheriff, you got a lot going on there. Can you tell me a little bit about why it is so important for you to be so involved with all of those different groups and all the educational opportunities? Cause that’s quite an impressive list for a sheriff.
Wayne Dicky: Well, it’s important to me because that’s really where we learn.
I think a lot agencies tend to get very internal that they start doing training internally and they get this kind of a culture where they try to learn or, or create everything inside. But the fact of the matter is, is that our associations like Texas Jail Association, American Jail Association, national Institute of Corrections, and our peers in the field are just great resources for solving problems and developing best practices.
Brian Lee: Yeah and Sheriff, when I first met you, you were the jail administrator there, Brazos county.
Wayne Dicky: Right.
Brian Lee: But one of the things that really stands out to me is typically when you talk, about elected county sheriffs, chiefs of police, things like that, they typically have more of a law enforcement background in patrol. And I know you do have that, but you’re a jail guy. Right? That’s why I like you so much. You’re a jail guy.
Wayne Dicky: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not necessarily spelled out, in the intro, but I started my career in the jail and worked about five years making my way up to ranks, and ultimately went to patrol for about four years. At that time, in our organization, the only way to promote, was for me to come back in the jail. So, I promoted back into the jail as a lieutenant and did that for a couple years, and then served as the jail commander for 24 years. But definitely when I took over as sheriff two years ago, the majority of my experience was in corrections.
Brian Lee: Absolutely. And I think that’s rare for elected county sheriffs. As I said before, most of ’em have that law enforcement background. And I think at some point in their career, or in their terms, serving a sheriff, they learn how important it is to understand and know about the jail system. We’ve talked about it a lot. in our dealings with large jail network, that’s where a lot of the problems are. That’s a big part of your budget and everything. Do you find your background coming up in the jails as being beneficial to you being the elected sheriff there?
Wayne Dicky: Yeah, there’s no doubt. It’s pretty common for me now to be at conferences and at meetings with other sheriffs where they’re talking about jail problems, and these sheriffs are lifetime career street officers, and so their perspective is a little bit different. And sometimes I’m able to give a little advice or to tell about my experiences to help. But you really can’t beat the experience of having come up in that side of the organization and knowing how it works.
Brian Lee: I agree, and I commend you for that. I’m sure your department is lucky to have you in your experience there, especially being there for 37 years, that’s quite a commitment, especially with that, with one department, but apparently you love it there. You’ve been there a long time, so, very good. The reason I asked you on the podcast today, you and I had a conversation about a month or two ago at the Western State Sheriff’s Conference in Reno. We were having some casual conversations about, what’s going on with you and, your job back in Texas and you mentioned a couple of things that sparked interest for me.
At CGL we do a lot of different things. We help people plan jail systems, we validate programs. We do program and staffing analysis and all those things. But one of the big things we do is we assist in the design of jails. And I get asked a lot of questions, being in that portion of the company going out and helping other jail administrators and sheriffs and whatnot plan for new jail systems. And you have that experience. You’re a very well respected name in the world of corrections and jails and I’ve spoken to you a lot about this, you are one of the people that I think about when I think about strategic inmate management, inmate behavior management direct supervision.
I know we’ve had a lot of discussions about those in the past at those network meetings, and I know you’ve been a big part of the American Jail Association. Can you give me an overview of what that means to you? What those different management styles look like and specifically the one I refer to a lot when we’re helping plan for new jails as strategic inmate management, but can you tell me what, all of those mean to you?
Wayne Dicky: Sure. I feel like I need to give a little bit of context, right? A little bit of my history about how our organization got to where it is. And, when I started, we were what you would call a traditional, intermittent supervision jail.
And so briefly that was just four or five officers on the shift. We had about 170 inmates at that time. This was in the eighties. And it just meant that we all sat up front and when it was time to make rounds, somebody went and made rounds. And when it was time to serve meals, somebody went and served meals and took care of those required duties.
But when it came to being in control of the facility, I didn’t know it at the time, but really the inmates were in control of the facility. So, as I said earlier, you go to these associations and you talk to other people that are in corrections about how they’re doing it and started to learn about, sim for example.
I realized that there’s another way to do it and that we could be better, that the facility could be safer, cleaner, quieter, for our staff and for inmates. And so we really started looking at those options, our county had taken the approach of building just enough jail to get by. And so, we had a number of construction projects over my career. I started in ‘86. We built a facility in ‘91, that was just 132 bed addition at a remote off-campus site. And then, added beds in 1994 and then added another 130 beds in 2000.
So as a result, we had this disjointed combination of different cell types, that required multiple fixed posts for control rooms. And it was just really difficult to supervise inmates and to staff. So when we reached our capacity in, the early two thousands, I really started thinking there’s gotta be a better way.
And so we did a plan for a facility that would actually meet our community’s needs for about 25 years. We really looked at some aggressive numbers when we put together that plan about population growth and incarceration rate to try to come up with the worst case scenario of what we’ll need for 25 years. And this was in 2006.
So, we’re putting that together and along the way I’m starting to see two or more of these jails that are direct supervision and I’m thinking, ‘God, these places are nice and they’re well run and the inmates are respectful.’ And, ‘I want a jail like that.’ So we reached out to the National Institute of Corrections and asked them to help us with some direct supervision training.
And we made the decision to build a direct supervision facility, that physical infrastructure, and this is kind of one of those things that I just got lucky I wasn’t smart. But NIC at that time was redeveloping their curriculum for direct supervision so it was unavailable. And I thought, ‘well, what in the world are we gonna do now? We’re gonna be online with this building in a couple of years and we need this training.’ And they offered a, at that time what was called, Inmate behavior management. And the idea was jails that have the traditional design where if the intermittent supervision with officers walking up and down the halls or viewing inmates from a remote location could use IBM to improve behavior and operations.
And then facilities that were already direct supervision were of course direct supervision. So we took on the IBM program, inmate behavior management, and we went to Colorado and I was hooked the first couple of days that we went, they just said things to me that made sense. And that is that most people given the opportunity are gonna behave in an appropriate manner. And it’s the change of paradigm from inmates are gonna act like inmates. They’re gonna try to cause problems for us to, the thought that most people in our custody will do what we ask ’em to. If we give ’em the opportunity. And so just examples, I think one of the ones I’ve shared with you before is that if you’ve got an officer that’s writing an inmate up, doing a disciplinary on somebody that is hoarding uniforms, they’re wearing two uniforms and then they’re stealing the blanket off the other guy’s bunk.
So we got a couple of write-ups and then they’re throwing toilet paper up on the air conditioning vent. So now we’ve got these write-ups, and that’s kind of the traditional way of responding to it, right? You just keep writing the guy up until he gets it. But if we just take a second and say, what role are we playing in that maybe the facility’s cold, maybe it’s 60 degrees in there and this guy’s just trying to survive.
And so if we just have that, for me, a light bulb moment that we can impact behavior, That if we move that guy into a different bunk or adjust the temp, that maybe we solve a lot of problems.
Brian Lee: Yeah. I’m glad you gave that example. That’s one of the examples that I remember most about meeting the needs. And I think a lot of times in corrections based on our culture and our history, we automatically go into situations assuming that people are breaking rules just to break rules. Right?
Wayne Dicky: Exactly.
Brian Lee: And what you’re getting at is sometimes people break rules to survive. And it’s about that environment that we’re creating. You talked about IBM and, and direct supervision there, when I visit a lot of jail facilities across the country, a lot of times what I get from people is we are already direct supervision. We want to get away from that. And when I conduct a tour, I walk around and take a look, I think they believe that their direct supervision because of the design of the pod or the design of the jail, but in my opinion, they’re not truly running a direct supervision. Can you touch on that a little bit? One of the things that I’ve always tried to share with people is direct supervision in my mind isn’t really a floor plan. It’s more of a state of management. A way that you treat people, a way that you manage people. So, do you agree with me on that?
Wayne Dicky: Absolutely. It’s an operational philosophy that has to do with how you use your resources to manage behavior. And the building is just a tool. In direct supervision you have a building that was designed to allow you to have an officer in that housing unit that enhances supervision.
And, but that’s just one part of it. That officer has to do a whole host of other things to manage behavior, to keep that dorm safe, clean, and well run. so I agree with you, I’ve been in facilities that say, ‘Hey, we’ve got this brand new direct supervision facility’, and you go in the day room and everybody’s locked in a single cell, and you’re like, okay. You’re right, the construction is there, but the philosophy’s not.
Brian Lee: Right. And I really think that is something I want to get to later. And that’s transitioning the culture of the workforce, because that’s probably one of the biggest issues and the toughest thing to do when you’re transitioning from one to another.
So in your opinion, what is the difference? Because we’ve heard direct supervision, we’ve heard IBM, inmate behavior management, and now we hear SIM, strategic inmate management. So what is SIM and how does that differ from the other two? Where does that come from?
Wayne Dicky: So SIM is essentially the merging of direct supervision principles and IBM elements.They were developed independently with the idea that somebody already had one kind of building, physical layout or another. But the reality is that most often jails have a combination of both. They’re running some direct supervision dorms, they’re running some modules, they’re running some single cells, and SIM really is all about the philosophy and using the tools that you have. And so strategic inmate management is the merging of those two and using that philosophy that we can manage behavior and we can do it in whatever kind of building we’re in.
Brian Lee: Gotcha. Another common phrase that I hear when we work with other agencies typically from stakeholders or policy makers that are involved in financial decisions, whether to build new jails, how much of a jail to build. Obviously cost is always a concern with these projects. These projects are expensive. They’re gonna be with you for a very long time. And I know, a lot of times people revert to the mindset that this is just a jail. We want the bare minimum. We want just enough to contain people.
And I personally think without utilizing the mindset of creating this engaging environment, that provides the structured activities of SIM and IBM and direct supervision. You have this constant cycle of damage to property in jails. And that’s what you see when I go to places and people are constantly locked down.
They’re spending a lot of time in the cells, there’s not a lot of activities, there’s not a lot of programs, none of those things. You see a very dirty, destroyed, graffitied jail. Is that your, is that your take as well?
Wayne Dicky: Yeah, I think that we have to recognize that we have to proactively supervise inmates to control those behaviors. And so just kind of give you another example. When we made the transition from our intermittent supervision, and so when I say intermittent supervision, I mean officers getting up every now and then to go walk around and do tasks. And then we were doing that with some dorms up to 24 beds, some podular cells as small as 12, and then of course singles.
So that certainly can be done, but if you don’t incorporate those elements, then ultimately you’re just gonna see those misbehaviors. What we found is when we made the transition from our previous facility and our previous management philosophy, we changed our classification, instrument.
We went from point additive to decision tree. And as part of that, we did an interview with every inmate in our custody at the time. And not surprising. It was spot on with the training. 94% of the people in our custody said, I’m here to do my time. I will follow the rules.
If you give me the things I need to survive, I’ll do what you asked me to do. And the 6% also not surprising, said, I don’t care what you do. I’m gonna be a problem. I’m gonna be troublesome for you and I’m not gonna follow the rules. So here’s the mind shift on that classification piece, I can identify and manage the 6% differently.
And that makes managing the 94% so much easier because they can live in less restrictive housing, in less supervision with more privileges and benefits and it’s a better environment for everybody, staff included. And so, for a facility our size today, we got about a little over 700.
So, about 40 people, in our disciplinary unit are trying to transition back to general population. But that also means I’ve got about 650 living in big 64 bed dormitories following the rules.
Brian Lee: Makes sense. And I really think that’s the issue is a lot of times our mind and corrections automatically goes to the worst possible case scenario.
And we plan everything for that worst possible case scenario. And that’s pretty restrictive and that’s pretty expensive when it comes to construction, whatnot. So, before I get onto the next topic, I wasn’t gonna let you escape today without telling us a story.
Wayne Dicky: Oh no, I don’t know what story it is.
Brian Lee: One session at the large jail network many years ago, I, I always remember this, and it was in the conversation of IBM and SIM and all those things. And it was a great example that you provided. And I think it’s a highlight of how sometimes things can present themselves as opportunities.
So you had an opportunity many years ago when you were the jail administrator there in the jail, of a comedian that wanted to come in and do a live standup show inside your jail. Yeah. On the Comedy Central Network.
And I think most risk averse people would run away from that and say, ‘oh, there’s so many things that could go wrong and it’s terrible’, but that’s not what you did, was it?
Wayne Dicky: No, we did it.
Brian Lee: So tell us how, how did you use that? How did that present itself as an opportunity for IBM and the things that we’re talking about?
Wayne Dicky: Well, one of the really important parts of implementing SIM, and since that’s the current term, I’ll try to be consistent. One of the really important components of that is to demonstrate administrative commitment. And that means the administration from the very top of the organization has to be committed to that operational philosophy.
That means I don’t get to say, ‘oh, we can’t buy mattresses till next month’, or ‘we can’t buy new uniforms’. Or, ‘we can’t fix that shower’. Those are not options because we have to be committed to do our part. Right. And so I was going through that and trying to be true to my word, to running this philosophy.
And AJA puts out a call for any jail that might be interested in hosting a comedian. There was not much detail to it, but just that a comedian wanted to do a show in a jail. And so I thought that might be a pretty good idea. What I thought it would be is a productive activity, which is element six of sim productive activities that these people would go in and do something for a couple of hours other than disruptive or misconduct.
Another element of sim that it lined up with is incentives. That if someone does something we ask ’em to do, there ought to be a benefit to that, whether it’s less restrictive housing, or more privileges or some incentive. And so I thought going to a comedy show would be an incentive.
What we did was, is we opened it up to every inmate in the facility regardless of classification or charge. And we said, ‘if you can go 30 days without any kind of misconduct or disciplinary action, then you can fill out an application to go to this show’. We had about half of our inmates, qualify for that.
And applied and we ended up doing three shows at the facility. And I had no idea until we got further into it that was actually gonna be on Comedy Central. And so I was an accidental comedy central star, I guess you’d say.
Brian Lee: Yeah, I remember seeing that. And, it was quite a comedy show, so that’s really thinking out of the box.
I commend you for that. I love that story and I just like the way you use those elements, to allow people to participate. But is that comedy show still available at all? Is it downloadable or anything?
Wayne Dicky: Yes, it is. I make no money off that. I have no financial interest in it whatsoever. And, I gotta tell you, and when you talk about risk, the comedian was Jeff Ross and he is an insult comic and so he was very colorful in his,
Brian Lee: that’s a good way to put it,
Wayne Dicky: entertainment. And so the sheriff at the time kind of looked at me funny, but in the end I believe it was a really good success, I think.
Brian Lee: Gotcha.
Wayne Dicky: I think we got a lot of positive feedback from our staff. I think they enjoyed being part of it, the inmates, I think we got some credit there as well for keeping our word. And so in the end it, it worked out really well.
Brian Lee: Well, heck, maybe if I can find it, we’ll link it up to this podcast episode. We’ll see.
Wayne Dicky: Oh, great.
Brian Lee: Alright, sheriff. Thank you. Well, moving on. When I ran into you again a couple months ago at the Western State Sheriff’s Conference, the conversation that actually made me think of the idea for this podcast, you had said to me in your mind there was only one way of inmate management, which we just talked about.
Right? And you also said there was only one style of cell or, housing unit layout. And that is a huge topic, that comes up for me a lot of times both internally in the industry and our company here and with agencies that we’re helping because you’ve got four man cells, eight man cells, six man, two man, single cells, dormitories.
You got all kinds of configurations and there’s a lot of things to consider as far as costs and constructability. But the thing that sticks with me the most is the management. And when we’re talking about SIM and all of these things, I want to be able to provide the best, opinion to those jail administrators and sheriffs with what’s the best for them when they’re trying to effectively manage that jail, not necessarily the cheapest or easiest to build because the building costs and things like, that’s that’s the smallest cost that you’re ever gonna deal with over the life of a jail.
There’s a lot of other things that come into play and so I’m anxious to hear what that is for you. What is that ideal layout of a cell layout and occupancy and all that? Can you talk to me a little bit about if you were to build a branding facility from ground up, how would you lay that out?
Wayne Dicky: I’ve gotta admit that in my own mind, that’s been an evolution that I came up in an organization where small cells, small windows to look through meant control, and, that we could contain problems, we could contain people. And it really took a period of a number of years and experiences to understand that that’s really not the best way to do it.
That it’s really difficult to supervise people effectively through bars, through glass, through walls, impossible with cameras. So, I was on a tour at a facility in Florida and the jail commander there made the comment, and this is a very large facility, made the comment that, the mistake he made when they built theirs, it was that he didn’t build all dormitories.
And I kind of walked out thinking, that guy’s kind of crazy. And, then I went to another program where Sheriff Clayton was one of the presenters and it was a SIM program and he says, ‘you want to be closest with the most supervision to the worst people in the facility’.
And that was kind of counter to what I’d always done, right? We put ’em in single cells or, even if they kind of behave, then we move ’em to what? A two man or a four man cell. But we’re watching them really close, or trying to, but in reality, the way you supervise people, even the people who behave badly, the more direct supervision you have, the better.
And so, it just took time. And I think I shared with you my example that when we were building our facility, well two examples and I’ll be quick. But one was that we had designed four 64-bed open dormitories for what we thought was gonna be low medium risk. We had designed four 64-bed housing units with multi occupancy cells that we thought were gonna probably be eights.
We thought we would have eight MOs with eight bunks each. And we had Four of those 64 bed units. And because of budget restrictions, they said, ‘hey, you’ve gotta cut a million bucks out of this project’. So we pulled those MOs out and converted them to dormitories. And it was really one of those blessings in disguise that now we run those as fully direct supervision dorms.
And so, we have about 500 beds in those two housing units that are all open bay dormitories with every classification inmate from traffic ticket to murder. And we’re managing behavior in there. In our special housing unit, we do have single cells for that 6%. We also have special housing for medical, mental health, protective custody and so forth.
But those are managed in much smaller groups. The vast majority of inmates are in these open dormitories. So that was example one that we saved a lot of money by building that way. Example two is that even though I did that, I still was so committed to the idea that these people were gonna just rip this building to shreds and tear it down that I’ve got the really thick security mullions around the glass.
We’ve got bolted down stainless steel tables, we’ve got all of this steel and iron in these cells that, in hindsight, could have been more commercial product. We could have went with probably commercial grade doors and we probably could have went with tables that could be moved around. It would’ve made the day rooms much more flexible for programs and things like that. But Those are lessons learned. I think there’s an opportunity there for that.
Brian Lee: So what I’m hearing is you really prefer those open dorms as far as direct supervision and SIM to manage that behavior. And then of course for that small percentage of folks, single cells, single cells where you’re not managing multiple people in lockdown situations.
Going back to, my experience and whatnot, my question is that comes up a lot of times in those multi occupancy, in those open dorms for direct supervision. Have those been a problem for you at all? Were they a problem during covid and also I’ve heard, questions come across. What about at nighttime sleeping? It’s difficult for people to sleep when there’s a lot of people and they’re making noises and things like that. What’s your experience in both of those situations?
Wayne Dicky: Yeah, that’s a couple of different questions, but ultimately the value of direct supervision is that the officer is the authority in the dorm.
And that means when we say lights out, it’s lights out and that there’s an expectation that people are gonna sleep at normal hours and the dorm’s gonna be dark and quiet. So that’s the supervision advantage of having that direct supervision. COVID was a challenge, no doubt about it because when we implemented our covid protocols, we were fortunate to have some MO cells.
From the 2000 construction that we had available and we created an intake triage there. So we would fill up eight of the an eight, eight person MO and move to the next and they would
Brian Lee: Is that cohort housing, Sheriff?
Wayne Dicky: Cohort, yeah, cohort housing. So that was intake’s side of it.
But when Covid did get into the facility our initial response would be, ‘hey, this guy’s running a fever’. We would take him and anybody he had close contact with out of those big dorms and we had identified some housing in the special housing, for observation, but there were multiple times where it spread beyond that initial group. And so we did have to shut the entire dorm down so that dorm would go on zero movement and we assumed everybody there had been exposed. And so it was as Covid anywhere was, it was a real challenge.
Brian Lee: Absolutely. And I would say that would probably even be a challenge if those were eight man cells or, in those units, you could still run into those same situations. I believe.
Wayne Dicky: I think we benefited from having some old construction style. We had some of that old stuff and so it allowed us to do the cohort intake. Without that it would’ve been more challenging. But that was our set of circumstances.
Brian Lee: Sure. So last thing, sheriff, we will wrap up with this, and I think this is an important piece of the pie or a part of the formula in what we’re talking about.
As a jail administrator, as a sheriff, all of those higher level positions, it’s typically easier to convince somebody at that level of these benefits of strategic inmate management, those designs and things like that. But once they are convinced of that and they make a decision to move in that direction, one of the biggest challenges for those folks is changing that culture of the organization that’s working that. I come from an agency where changing that culture meant about 2,500 people, and you get a lot of people that have been around for a long time. They know things a certain way. And it’s not to say that they’re not flexible in their minds and thinking, but it’s quite a shift for them.
For us, I can take a jail administrator to other jails. And like you said, wow, this is nice. You got to experience it firsthand. But that’s difficult when you’ve got a lot of staff. So what’s the secret formula for changing that culture and how has that worked for you in your evolution over the years?
Wayne Dicky: It was a real challenge because as I said, we were running a facility that had been run based on intermittent supervision. And so while the new building was under construction, we did a couple of things that I think helped us. I couldn’t begin to tell you that we are the experts or we could give you the book on how to do it, but I can tell you there were some things that helped us and that was that first we had the resources to provide training and we had the resources to educate people. So after that initial group went with me to Colorado to learn what SIM was, and we sent another group up. And so we had a group of about 15 or 18 people that were pretty early adopters. And that’s part of that cultural change. Over time you’ve got early adopters, people who get the idea immediately and see the value in it.
Then you’ve got people that it takes some time that you have to give ’em more education, more information, and a little bit of time to think about it. And then they kind of come on board. And you may have seen this before, I’m sure in your previous experience, it’s kinda like a bell curve that you got those people at the very beginning to get it.
Then you got a big group of people in the middle that go, yeah, this is gonna work. And then you’ve got those laggards, the late adopters, the people that say, ‘this is dangerous, I’m not gonna do that, I’m not going in there’. I think one of the things that we did as we worked our way through that process was that we tried to identify the people who were resistant early on and put them on as many tours as possible.
So we would have some mixture of people that were saying, this is the greatest thing ever. And some people who were saying, ‘we’re never gonna do this’, and we would send them to a jail and have ’em look at their operations. And I think that helped. I think that the people who were resistant asked reasonable questions that made everybody think.
And I think they also learned along the way. And what we found was with a lot of education, a lot of tours, some details on how SIM works, most of our people came along. So then I would say the next kind of identifiable group of officers in our organization found a niche. So there were some that really don’t get it, don’t like it, and so they would find a niche either in, they would try to go to booking or transportation or somewhere else where they’re not in direct supervision. And then we’d lost some officers and sure. Today, my gosh, can you imagine losing officers at a time now where we’re struggling so hard with staffing? But at that time, we did lose some officers that just said, ‘I’m not comfortable and I don’t wanna work in a dorm’. Once we got into the, well, one more piece, we had to build a temporary low-risk building, and so we went ahead and built it as direct supervision. And we started using it as a training facility before the main facility was done. And so we put inmate workers and low risk inmates in that training facility, and they let officers rotate through.
And so they got a direct supervision light experience without being thrown into an environment where it might be more challenging initially. So, all those things worked in our favor. I think it takes people who adopt the principles and the philosophy. I think it takes administrative support, even when you don’t want to.
And one of the things that I told my folks is, we will be implementing SIM until it’s the way we’ve always done it. And, it’s still to this day requires constant supervision and constant work to implement it.
Brian Lee: Absolutely. Yeah. And that, I think that is one of the biggest challenges in transitioning.
And so what I’m hearing you say is during your transition, you invested a lot of time in communication, training, putting people in those scenarios, in those situations. You didn’t create a situation where you told your staff, this is coming next week and we’re just doing it. And that’s one of the things that some of my mentors through the process, the American Jail Association and folks that I’ve worked with in the past, same thing.
It’s about the education, making people a part of that process and just preparing them for those changes. Without that, we’re human, right? Humans don’t like that change. So I applaud you on that. And I think that just about wraps up our time. Sheriff, I want to thank you for coming on. I think you and I could probably talk about this for many more hours.
Yeah. It’s something I know you have a passion for and I do too. And I think there’s so much more to it than what we can cover here in this short amount of time. But I want to thank you for coming onto the show and talking to us about different styles of inmate supervision, the housing unit, layouts and whatnot.
so that’s gonna be it for our podcast today. Thank you everyone for listening. You can find this and other episodes on the standard podcast platforms. Apple Podcast, Google Podcast. Stitcher and Spotify, or visit us at cglcompanies.com/podcast.
Please reach out to us if you have suggestions for topics you want to hear covered this season, or if you’re interested in being a feature guest on the 360 podcast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sheriff, thanks again for coming on and I wish you luck. I know you got a lot going on down there in Texas and a lot of things are happening, and I just wanna say thank you for spending the time with us today.
Wayne Dicky: Thank you, Brian. I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you some today, and I think it’s important that we continue to help our jails evolve and make ’em safer, help us serve our communities better, and so I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you.
Brian Lee: Thank you very much.