By keeping everything systematic, calm, and secure, Shelby County Jail administrators in Memphis have taken the commotion — and danger — out of the booking process, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Jail employees go to great efforts to calm down incoming suspects. The booking process starts on an ugly note. You get brought in by police, against your will, in handcuffs, sometimes fighting. “That’s not the best ride of your life,” said Assistant Chief Jailer Rod Bowers. “We’re trying to step it down. Our goal is to cool them down.” The intake area, painted in subtle earthtones, is usually quiet. There are no bars, and the employees are a mix of deputies and civilian workers.
Sheriff Mark Luttrell made it his mission when he was elected in 2002 to make it a safe, secure jail. The jail had been under the scrutiny of federal judges for more than a decade because of repeated civil rights violations to inmates. It was one of the worst in the country. Last summer, the jail gained accreditation from the American Correctional Association. Only 170 of the 3,500 U.S. jails have that distinction.