Jail High-Risk Critical Task- Care, Custody, Restraint and Transportation of Prisoners

Transportation and restraint by law enforcement agencies of persons who are in custody is a constant requirement and a frequent activity. Two general time periods are involved. The first is immediately after the arrest when the arrestee is taken to the agency’s holding facility for booking, processing, and short-term holding. The second concerns the movement of prisoners from the holding facility to court, a hospital or other medical facility, a funeral, or other location. Regardless of the reason for the transportation of prisoners, potential hazards are always present. Therefore, it is the policy of this agency to establish uniform procedures that provide adequate safety and security of prisoners, transporting personnel, and the public during prisoner transport. There is a clear-cut duty to protect prisoners who are in custody of the agency because persons who are involuntarily held cannot protect themselves.

Scenario: Deputies are attempting to arrest a very intoxicated driver for DUI. The suspect resists arrest by pushing deputies and attempting to run. The suspect is taken to the ground, and he attempts to strike and kick deputies. After a struggle, deputies handcuff the suspect. He continues to kick at deputies, and they use a hobble strap to stop the kicking.

Question: What should deputies do next?

Answer: Deputies should not leave the suspect face down. Rather, the deputies should sit the suspect upright to avoid possible asphyxiation. If the suspect displays difficulty breathing or sustained injuries during his resistance to the arrest, the deputies should call emergency medical services (EMS) to check the suspect prior to transport. Additionally, deputies should check the handcuffs for proper fit and ensure they are double-locked.

Question: Should the deputies “hog-tie” the suspect such that his feet and hands are in close proximity?

Answer: No. The use of the “hog-tie” is not allowed in policy due to the risk of positional asphyxia.

Additional facts to the scenario: The suspect was seated upright and calm. He was not having difficulty breathing and did not have apparent injuries from the struggle. He is placed in the backseat of a patrol vehicle for transport to the hospital for a blood test.

Question: What should the officers do before transporting the arrestee?

Answer: Seatbelt the arrestee. The policy requires deputies to seatbelt arrestees prior to transport unless exigent circumstances make the use of a seatbelt impractical.