OFF-SITE EVACUATION PLANNING FOR U.S. JAILS: COASTAL OREGON COUNTY CASE STUDY
Olson, Kasey J.
The dangers of natural disasters continue to grow and threaten the safety and security of communities; none are more vulnerable and limited in protecting themselves than our incarcerated population. Hurricane Katrina highlighted significant failures in the U.S. corrections system and how we safeguard our incarcerated population during natural disasters and national emergencies. More than 15 years later, historical disaster events have revealed little progress in improving the resiliency of safeguarding our nation's incarcerated population in disasters. Little is made known, or made publicly available, how our nation’s carceral facilities effectively conduct full off-site evacuation operations to an alternate site when a primary facility fails to provide essential services. There is a gap in available documentation concerning how carceral facilities plan and prepare for catastrophic incidents related to natural disasters and national emergencies. Particularly, conducting the safe relocation of incarcerated people by detention officers and staff to a secondary location that can sustain essential services for an appropriate amount of time. Findings in this paper revealed gaps in consistency amongst the U.S. Jails in Oregon State, most likely to experience catastrophic facility failure in a large Cascadia event, to have an actionable procedure in place to efficiently plan, prepare and conduct off-site evacuation operations. Gaps in the plans included: 1) a secondary site capable of sustaining essential services at the secondary site for longer than 72 hours, 2) effective essential records plan to transfer pertinent medical information with the incarcerated person, 3) dependence on outside resources to execute the off-site evacuation plan, and 4) inability to exercise their individual plan as written. Additionally, recommendations on how to improve plans, policies and procedures were added to better prepare detention officers and staff to conduct off-site evacuation operations.
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