When the National Commission on Correctional Health Care did its assessment of suicide prevention at the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) in August 2019, it found “staffing challenges” of 37 vacancies of medical and mental health staff at the jail. Now there are 69 vacancies of medical and mental health staff at the jail.
Why have so many people left employment at the jail? The large number of lawsuits, deaths and incidents of abuse can be directly related to the staffing crisis.
In December 2020, two years ago, the Jail Oversight Board voted 6-1-1 to conduct exit interviews of ACJ staff who have left employment. It appears the board has only done two exit interviews in two years.
The jail cannot afford to lose more staff. The current staff members need their voices to be heard about why they continue to work at the jail and what could the county, the jail administration and the public could do to innovate policies and practices to increase their retention.
A third party needs to be hired to make their voices heard.