Jail Insurance Policy Information
Jail Insurance. Jails are confinement facilities housing inmates for relatively short periods of time - they may be convicted of minor crimes and serving sentences that are generally less than a year long, or awaiting trial or sentencing.
While some jails host no more than a few hundred inmates, others are bustling facilities capable of accommodating several thousand.
Jails are contained in local law enforcement facilities. They provide temporary detainment for prisoners awaiting sentencing, those facing minor sentences, or until arrangements can be made for transportation to permanent or long-term facilities.
Prisoners generally stay in jails less than one year. After being taken into custody, a prisoner is booked, photographed, and fingerprinted. A physical and mental health evaluation is done to determine whether there are additional needs, and a security assessment is completed.
A body search is conducted to confirm that no weapons or contraband items are being taken into the jail. Depending on the facility, the prisoner may wear his or her own clothing or be issued a uniform. If the facility takes the prisoner's clothing and other personal property into custody, all items must be listed with a receipt signed.
All commercial and public organizations face hazards, but jails, perhaps more than any other organization, are virtually synonymous with "risk" - from fights among inmates that can also pose a threat to correctional officers to clandestine cooking techniques, jails are filled with hazards.
With such a high risk profile, it is especially important for the bodies that manage jails, generally departments of correction or law enforcement authorities, to carefully consider the insurance needs of these facilities. To find out what types of jail insurance a correctional facility might require, keep reading.
Jail insurance protects your correctional institution from lawsuits with rates as low as $157/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Below are some answers to commonly asked jail insurance questions:
- What Is Jail Insurance?
- How Much Does Jail Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Jails Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Jails Need?
- What Does Jail Insurance Cover & Pay For?
What Is Jail Insurance?
Jail operator insurance is a type of liability insurance that covers the costs associated with legal claims brought against a jail or correctional facility. This type of insurance protects the jail operator from lawsuits related to issues such as medical neglect, wrongful death, assaults, and other incidents that may occur within the jail or correctional facility.
It covers the cost of defense, settlements, and judgments against the jail operator and can also provide financial support if the jail operator is forced to shut down operations as a result of a lawsuit.
How Much Does Jail Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small jails ranges from $157 to $209 per month based on location, size, revenue, claims history and more.
Why Do Jails Need Insurance?
Jails need insurance for the same reasons that lead any other commercial or public organization to invest in top-notch coverage; they can, at any time, be confronted with unforeseen circumstances associated with massive costs. Some of the risks that apply to jails are universal, while other perils are unique to correctional facilities.
Like all other buildings, jails can - for example - be exposed to an act of nature. As varied as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, lightning strikes, and severe floods, these natural disasters can cause damage of such a magnitude that the facility becomes inoperable.
Theft and vandalism are universal risks, but inmate-related theft and vandalism of jail property is almost guaranteed within jails.
The many jail-specific liability risks would include the occupational injury of correctional officers, inmates being injured on the premises in circumstances for which management could ultimately be held responsible, and arson committed by inmates.
It can be challenging for correctional facilities to find an insurer who both deeply understands their needs and is able to meet them, and for this reason, partnering with an insurance company who caters specifically to jail insurance is recommended.
What Type Of Insurance Do Jails Need?
Jails need to carry several different forms of insurance. The precise coverage that will best protect the financial interests of an individual jail depends on factors that include the number of inmates it typically houses, how many correctional officers and other workers it employs, its location, and the materials from which the building was constructed.
An in-depth consultation with a skilled insurance broker who has extensive experience with this field is the most effective path towards obtaining the insurance program that shields a jail from all major perils. Having said that, some types of jail insurance that are indispensable include:
- Commercial Property - This type of insurance covers financial losses resulting from perils that strike the physical building, but also the assets therein. The types of perils that fall under property insurance typically include acts of nature (often with the exception of floods), theft, and vandalism.
- General Liability - This type of jail insurance coverage covers third party bodily injury and property damage claims. In the event that a visiting relative is injured due to poor maintenance, for instance, general liability insurance would cover the resulting legal costs.
- Workers' Compensation - Should a jail employee sustain a work-related injury, of which there is a high risk in this field, workers comp pays for the employee's medical costs, whether the injury was acute or long-term. If the employee is rendered unable to return to work due to occupational injuries, their lost income is also compensated.
- Inmate Medical Coverage - This type of coverage can also be called correctional medical insurance. It offers health and medical insurance to inmates. Correctional medical liability insurance is another related policy that jails will need to carry; in the event that an inmate suffers injuries or health conditions for which the facility could be held liable, it covers legal costs and settlement fees associated with resulting lawsuits.
Bear in mind that the insurance needs an individual jail has are unique. For this reason, a jail's managerial board should find a seasoned insurance broker who can assess their risk profile together with them, and help them source the jail insurance that will optimally protect their financial interests.
Jail's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is very high due to the number of prisoners living in the jail and any visitors. Public and life safety code compliance is very important. To prevent trips, slips, and falls, stairways, elevators, and floor coverings should be in good condition. Adequate lighting, marked exits and egresses are mandatory.
Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair, with snow and ice removed, and generally level.
There must be procedures to ensure the safety of each incarcerated individual. Any potentially violent or harmful prisoner must be separated from other prisoners. Additional care is required when there is any indication that a prisoner needs either medical attention or may cause harm or injury to himself or herself.
Security concerns regarding the prisoners, employees, guards, visitors, and guests are high and need careful evaluation. Evacuation plans must be in place with regular disaster training conducted.
If the jail furnishes inmates for roadwork, there must be adequate protection for the inmates while in transit and off premises. If inmates are allowed off premises, as in work release programs, there must be adequate supervision to protect public safety.
Professional liability exposure comes from the exercising of police powers, the potential for allegations of personal injury, and from medical care for the prisoners. Allegations regarding discrimination, false arrest, invasion of privacy, negligent hiring and supervision, sexual abuse or harassment, unlawful detention, and use of excessive force are common.
All individuals who work with the prisoners are subject to thorough background checks, including criminal history. Hiring, training, supervision and policy procedures are all important parts of promoting professional attitudes towards inmates.
Workers compensation exposure is very high to employees, guards, drivers, and officers from an injury inflicted by prisoners, who may be violent or mentally ill. Vehicle accidents, assaults, slips, falls, cuts and bruises, back and knee injuries are common.
There may be exposure to caustic chemicals, bloodborne pathogens, or infectious diseases. Activists, victims, family, friends, or relatives of victims and other injured parties may also act out against jail employees.
The training of the jailers, guards, and employees in the handling of emergencies is a critical item to evaluate. Physical exams and psychiatric evaluations should be conducted at least annually.
Property exposure is very high. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, and cooking equipment. Any storage of firearms or ammunition on premises increases the potential for damage from fire and can be a target for theft. Electrical circuitry must be up to code and evaluated regularly.
All jails must serve food to inmates. The cooking facilities must be well maintained and cooking done under a hood or in the oven. If grease-laden vapors are produced, a fire protection device should be in place. Filters should be cleaned regularly.
Any laundry facilities, vocational training, or services should be evaluated for any additional fire hazards. Arson is a concern as some inmates may start fires for revenge or to gain attention. Smoke detectors are critical for early detection of a fire. Smoking should be prohibited.
Because some prisoners are violent, the cells and areas where they might be must be resistant to their damage. Wiring and security features must be inaccessible to inmates. Since law enforcement agencies must operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there must be advance disaster planning in place.
Crime exposure is due to employee dishonesty and money and securities. All employees must undergo criminal background checks. All ordering, billing, and disbursements must be kept separate. Money collected from such places as the jail store or vending machines must be counted by two individuals and should be deposited on a regular basis.
Inmates' property retained by the facility must be inventoried and a signed receipt maintained on file.
Inland marine exposure is due to bailees customers, computers and valuable papers and records. If the jail is private and bills the state or municipality for services, accounts receivable coverage may be needed. Jails have a bailees exposure as they retain the personal property of prisoners.
Receipts should be provided for any item taken into custody. Computers control many aspects of the jail including clerical functions and security, such as opening and closing doors and other shutdown procedures. There should be adequate backup and duplicates made of all programs.
Valuable papers and records include all information about the prisoners incarcerated in the jail. These should be duplicated with a copy kept at an off-site location.
Commercial auto exposure can be very high as vehicles may be used for the transport of prisoners or inmates, public officials, employees, and guests. Employees can be on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week, often with traffic congestion, poor road conditions, or inclement weather.
Defensive driving training is necessary. Drivers must be trained to verify that intersections are clear before going through red lights. MVRs must be checked regularly. Vehicles must be maintained on a regular basis with records kept in a central location.
What Does Jail Insurance Cover & Pay For?
Jails and prisons can be sued for various reasons, including but not limited to:
Negligence: Inmates can sue jails for negligence if they are injured due to a lack of proper supervision or inadequate conditions. For example, if an inmate slips and falls on a wet floor that was not properly marked or maintained, they may sue for damages. Insurance can help pay for the lawsuit by covering the legal fees and settlement or judgment costs, up to the policy's limit.
Medical Malpractice: Inadequate medical care or treatment provided to inmates can lead to lawsuits. For instance, if an inmate suffers from a medical condition that is not properly diagnosed or treated by the jail's medical staff, they may sue for damages. Insurance can help by covering the costs of legal defense, as well as any settlement or judgment awarded to the plaintiff, up to the policy's limit.
Use of Excessive Force: Inmates can sue jails for excessive use of force by correctional officers, such as physical abuse or the use of unnecessary force during a confrontation. Insurance can help protect the jail by covering legal fees, settlement costs, or judgments up to the policy's limit.
Wrongful Death: If an inmate dies while in custody due to negligence, use of excessive force, or other causes, their family can sue the jail for wrongful death. Insurance can help by covering the legal fees and any settlement or judgment awarded to the plaintiff, up to the policy's limit.
Civil Rights Violations: Inmates can sue jails for violating their constitutional rights, such as the right to due process or protection from cruel and unusual punishment. For example, an inmate may sue if they are subjected to inhumane living conditions or denied access to legal counsel. Insurance can help by covering the costs of legal defense, settlement, or judgment up to the policy's limit.
Sexual Assault or Harassment: Inmates can sue jails for incidents of sexual assault or harassment by jail staff or other inmates. Insurance can help protect the jail by covering legal fees, settlement costs, or judgments up to the policy's limit.
To minimize the risk of lawsuits and the associated financial burden, jails typically purchase liability insurance. This type of insurance covers legal defense costs, settlements, and judgments arising from lawsuits, up to the policy's limit. The specific coverage and limits depend on the jail's needs and the insurance policy it chooses. By purchasing adequate liability insurance, jails can protect themselves from the financial impact of lawsuits and ensure they can continue to operate in the face of legal challenges.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 9223 Correctional Institutions
- NAICS CODE: 922140 Correctional Institutions, 561210 Facilities Support Services, 922150 Parole Officers and Probation Offices
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 7720 Police Officers & Drivers
Description for 9223: Correctional Institutions
Division J: Public Administration | Major Group 92: Justice, Public Order, And Safety | Industry Group 922: Public Order And Safety
9223 Correctional Institutions: Government establishments primarily engaged in the confinement and correction of offenders sentenced by a court. Private establishments primarily engaged in the confinement and correction of offenders sentenced by a court are classified in Services, Industry 8744. Half-way houses for ex-convicts and homes for delinquents are classified in Services, Industry 8361.
- Correctional institutions-government
- Detention centers-government
- Honor camps-government
- Houses of correction-government
- Prison farms-government
Jail Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about the specific types of jail insurance policies typically needed, and what limits to consider, speak with a business insurance broker that is experienced in commercial insurance.
Additional Resources For Local, State And Federal Government Insurance
Learn about commercial insurance for local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings.
- County Administration Offices
- Fire Departments
- Government Buildings
- Law Enforcement Entities
- Public Buildings
- Specialty Government
The local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings industry needs business insurance for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, business insurance helps protect against financial loss. Governments and their agencies often handle large amounts of money, assets and sensitive information, making them a target for theft, fraud and other criminal activities. Insurance can help cover the costs associated with recovering from these types of losses.
In addition, government agencies and buildings are at risk for natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. Commercial insurance can help cover the costs of repairing damage caused by these types of events.
Furthermore, government agencies and services often deal with the public on a daily basis, making them vulnerable to liability claims. For example, if a government building is not properly maintained and a visitor slips and falls, the agency could be held liable for the injuries sustained. Insurance can help cover the costs of legal proceedings and any damages awarded.
Lastly, commercial insurance can help protect against unexpected disruptions in operations. For example, if a government agency's computer systems were to crash, it could disrupt the agency's ability to function effectively. Business insurance can help cover the costs of getting the agency back up and running as quickly as possible.
Overall, the local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings industry needs insurance to protect against financial loss, natural disasters, liability claims and disruptions in operations. Without it, these agencies could face significant financial and operational challenges.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Audio/Visual Equipment, Computers, Contractors' Equipment, Fine Arts, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Cyberliability, Employee Benefits, Public Officials' Liability, Umbrella, Hired and Non-Oowned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Extra Expense, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and; Stop Gap Liability.