Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

DISTRICT POLICIES

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TITLE: Use Of Force

POLICY

To ensure the safety of the public, as well as staff and offenders of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, a Use of Force Continuum has been developed. Staff will be trained in the Use of Force continuum.

Except for members of the Districts Fugitive Unit the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services endorses a "hands off" approach with offenders in most situations. Physical force is to be used only in circumstances of justifiable self-protection or the protection of others. Staff should consider withdrawing from the situation and securing assistance. Staff shall contact law enforcement for assistance.

All incidents involving physical force shall be reported in writing through the Incident Reporting Module to the staff’s person’s Supervisor, the Assistant Director of Residential Services, and the District Director prior to the end of the involved staff person’s shift/work day.

PROCEDURE

  1. When staff are met with psychological-non verbal intimidation, verbal non-compliance or other non physical resistance from an offender, they should use their presence or verbal skills to defuse the offender. The staff should always use discretion and if possible consider withdrawing from the situation and securing assistance. Assistance can be sought from law enforcement.
  2. Staff will only use the first two steps in the use of force continuum except in circumstances of justifiable self-protection or the protection of others. As noted in Iowa Code section 704.3 reasonable force can be used "when the person believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force".
  3. Use of Force Continuum:
    1. Presence:

      1) The first step in the Use of Force Continuum is the staff's presence. The staff should maintain an interview stance when dealing with offenders or others.

    2. Verbal:

      2) The second step in the Use of Force Continuum is verbal commands. The staff should be questioning and assessing the situation, then go to light control, and attempt to diffuse the situation by talking to the subject, then heavy control by warning the subject what will happen if he/she does not comply. The staff must be clear to articulate what it is that he/she wants the subject to do and why.

District staff may use defensive tactics to withdraw from the situation and secure assistance or proceed further in the use of force continuum in circumstances of justifiable self-protection or the protection of others. As noted in Iowa Code section 704.3 reasonable force can be used "when the person believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force".

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