Confinement facility focused on rehabilitation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephan Coleman
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
The room is very open with only a table, some chairs, lockers and bunks inhabiting it. Everything is lined up geometrically, beds made and shoes displayed meticulously; inspection ready.

The 81st Security Forces Squadron confinement facility is fully equipped to house Keesler inmates for reformation purposes.

"The Air Force corrections philosophy is that going to jail is the punishment, not being in jail," said Capt. Chris Porta, 81st SFS operations officer. "It's about rehabilitating the inmates with an environment of discipline."

Only three other bases under Air Education and Training Command have confinement facilities. Keesler's facility is capable of housing 20 inmates, 14 in an open bay and six in separate isolation cells, and can hold them for up to 15 months.

Inmates are either awaiting trial, or of medium risk and serving a short sentence. Maximum custody inmates and inmates with a sentence longer than six months are usually transferred to other facilities, said Tech. Sgt. Vincent Brasher, 81st SFS corrections supervisor.

The security forces corrections supervisors who run the facility and handle prisoners are certified through the Department of Defense. They restrict the movement of the inmates and perform inspections of living areas while also tending to inmate needs.

"As a 'red line' facility, inmates can move from room to room only if they ask for permission first," said Brasher. "But, anything that active-duty members are entitled to, whether it's medical treatment, rehab or the library, the inmates are allowed to have access to. We just keep strict tabs on them."

The alternative to having a facility at Keesler is transporting prisoners to a nearby off-base equivalent, where parent units would still have partial responsibility costing approximately $35 a day, said Porta.

The inmates get three meals a day and may get time outside periodically. They aren't permitted to sleep during the day, however, and aren't allowed anything they wouldn't have had supplied to them outside the facility, said Brasher.

The confinement facility is very much a military operation with the inmates in uniform but without any rank.

"With their liberties restricted, they have plenty of time to reflect on their choices," said Porta.