Volume of Activity
The Jail is a detention/incarceration facility for persons who are committed to it by a legal authority. It also provides "lock-up" for between 80 and 100 arrestees per day who are held pending formal identification by the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Criminal Identification, for City Magistrate and District Justice Pre-Arraignment Hearings. The purpose of these hearings is to determine if there is probable cause for the arrest and to set bail. Arrestees have an opportunity to pay bail and be released at this time or be committed to the Jail in lieu of bail.
The Jail handles over 350 temporary and permanent "movements" in and out of the institution every day. On an average day, some 100 arrestees come through the intake department. After their arraignment, arrestees who do not make bond are committed to ACJ in lieu of bond. These average around 60. Additionally, each day the Jail receives prisoners who are brought in by Constables, Federal authorities and Sheriff's Deputies. These persons may be apprehended fugitives, persons who had bonds revoked, persons who have been sentenced to Jail at Court, Parole or Probation Violators. These numbers vary. Overall, commitments to the Jail range between 50 and 70 per day. The number of permanent releases runs slightly less than admissions. Thus, the Jail's population has been growing.
Depending upon Court activity, each weekday, well over 100 persons move out and back from Criminal Court hearings or trials. This heavy movement on a daily basis requires devotion of considerable administrative, services and security resources in order to run properly.
The volume of movement is one factor that distinguishes a county jail from a prison facility that houses sentenced prisoners. There is much less movement in and out of a prison facility. Another distinguishing factor is length of stay. In prisons, length of stay is predicable and usually longer than Jail. In Jails, the length of stay is usually unpredictable and shorter. Shorter Length of stay (30-31 days at ACJ) results in a transient population that may be volatile. This has implications for programs and services and for management and operations procedures.