operational capacity | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Corrections

Operational capacity in corrections is the safe and effective number of inmates a facility can hold based on resources, staff, and infrastructure.

The operational capacity is determined by a variety of factors, including the physical layout of the facility, the number of beds and living spaces, the availability of medical and mental health services, and the staffing levels.

Correctional facilities must operate within their operational capacity to ensure the safety and security of inmates and staff. When a facility exceeds its operational capacity, it can lead to overcrowding, which can compromise the safety and well-being of inmates, staff, and the public. Overcrowding can also make it difficult for correctional staff to provide adequate healthcare, mental health services, and other programs to inmates.

To manage operational capacity, correctional facilities may use a variety of strategies, such as implementing population management policies, expanding or renovating existing facilities, or building new facilities. Additionally, some jurisdictions may use alternative sentencing options, such as community supervision or electronic monitoring, to reduce the number of inmates in correctional facilities.

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Last Modified: 03/10/2023


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