The Badge: Spotlight on Sheriffs
Sheriffs shape jail conditions and enjoy great policy discretion on matters ranging from immigration to solitary confinement, but their authority and decisions are often overlooked, which poses a challenge for change and accountability. Each edition of The Badge, a series on The Appeal: Political Report, will examine a facet of the powers and responsibilities of sheriffs.
Part 9. Sheriffs bear responsibility for the use of solitary confinement
“The sheriff holds the keys to each and every cell in the jail, and can decide whether they house people humanely, or in around-the-clock isolation,” an advocate said.
Part 8. How sheriffs are extracting wealth from people in jails
“Sheriffs should commit to no longer extracting resources from incarcerated people, who are very disproportionately poor people of color,” says one researcher.
Part 7. Sheriffs have power over whether people in jail can vote
They can either make necessary voter registration and ballot materials accessible to people in their custody, or make them impossible to obtain.
Part 6. How sheriffs choose to help ICE in local jails
When people are arrested and booked into a local jail, they often end up on ICE’s radar. Sheriffs are a major reason why.
Part 5. Sheriff powers in a public health emergency
Sheriffs wield enormous power, from ordering people’s release to organizing contact with defense attorneys, and they can direct it in ways that will help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect incarcerated people.
Part 4. Bail reform and pretrial detention
Sheriffs are fighting New York’s cuts to pretrial detention. But bail reform can instead push sheriffs to embrace shrinking jails.
Part 3. Policing practices
Sheriffs’ elected status confers them autonomy. Where does that leave the push for policing reform?
Part 2. The opioid crisis