Why Kingman Failed
The governor still has not solved the problems of the Kingman riots and contractual oversight. In all reality, he still doesn’t know how his own agency failed him and the public before, during and after the riots in July. Here is a breakdown of a post-incident review of the Kingman riot reports according to my evaluations of the document prepared by the Arizona Department of Corrections. Since there was no blame involved, there must be recommendations or solutions attached to complete the report.
Every agency has a set of policies and procedures as standards to work from as guidelines. Every facility has a person or persons employed to ensure the facility complies with these standards. Assuming these standards are created effectively and based and developed on ‘best practices’ and not lessons learned orientations, there are two actions required to enforce these quality standards; intent and interpretations. Misinterpretation of the intent of any standard can lead to inappropriate application. I believe this is the foundation of the failures at the Kingman prison complex.
In the case of the Kingman after-action, it was revealed 5 monitors were charged with the responsibility to know the intent of the standards and the interpretations of such policies as written guidelines to do their jobs. One common act in failing to interpret the standard is to apply the wrong one or an outdated or older standard.
Driving your ideology off an old standard create confusing directions such as whether the entire set is applied completely, partially or even omitted in some cases. If this is not the case, then the monitors suffer from inconsistent reading of the intent of the standard and the interpretations vary too wide to apply the intent correctly. Standards are descriptive and prescriptive in nature. One can see the room for error here if the wrong interpretation is applied in the wrong particular context.
The most common problem associated with the misinterpretation of standards is training and consultation. There are rare tools made available to attain improvements that are consistently applied across the board in the case of sharing this tool statewide and asking questions of intent and interpretation as a group rather than individually. The goal is consistency and all monitors doing it the same manner and level of competence.
There are no audits on a development plan for monitors, designed and dedicated effort to ensure this problem of intent and interpretation is in place, giving the agency a powerful tool designed to focus on problem issues and developing meaningful solutions before a crisis is created or occurs.
The agency should – set up training for all monitors simultaneously and in the same classroom with the same instructor / administrator and seek better methods to develop better and ultimately one interpretation of these standards. Interpretations should not vary from monitor to monitor as well as facility to facility. Here are some tips for better standards interpretation.
Read the intent of the standard (first sentence of Discussion) within the context of the standard itself
Determine what the standard is attempting to achieve
Consider how it could be achieved in your facility
Discuss facility examples and seek solutions
Review the examples provided for common agency solution
Create an oversight committee to ensure all standards are up to date and relevant to the current needs of the agency and contractual obligations.