Did you know the Edgar County Sheriff Department failed another jail inspection? Their most recent report reveals very poor performance in many critical areas.
All quotes are from the Inspection Report, in the Inspector’s own words. All of the failures outlined are in areas that the Sheriff can control.
Jailers are supervising and transporting prisoners without the proper training and certification. According to the inspector, “Of the 3 full-time officers on duty during these inspections, 2 had yet to complete basic jail officer training.”
The Sheriff has failed to secure them spots in the academy classes! This shows a lack of planning and follow-through. It also creates liability for the county.
Certain classes of prisoners must be separated. But the inspector found: “As before, the jail lacks any records which indicate necessary classification reviews are being conducted.”
The inspector continues, “…inmates advised they are not assigned to a particular cell on the unit…” and “Jail staff…do not enforce that they remain there.”
“Detainees are permitted to hang clothing, towels, sheets and other items from the walls of the cell blocks obstructing the view of jail staff doing their tours.”
Who’s in charge here? Prisoners should be assigned a cell, and made to remain there. They must not be allowed to obstruct visibility.
The jail itself has been a cause for concern for years. But the inspector found “All areas within the facility are in need of major repair. Many of the sinks and/or toilets are in need of repair.”
“Some light fixtures were being held in place with pieces of torn clothing or socks, dangling.” They continue, “The cell block areas are lined with exposed wiring and some had even been spliced together by the detainees.”
The inspector goes on to say, in one case, “This non-compliance has continued through several inspections…”.
Regarding medical treatment, “Medication logs are not being filled out by staff.” One inmate went “three weeks with a MRSA infection before any action was taken to take her to the doctor.”
The inspector noted that another inmate had been “caring for the sick detainee, dressing her wound, etc. and that she had no medical training.” They continue, “Jail staff did not dispute her claim.”
“Shower curtains were moldy and being held in place with pieces of socks or other garments that detainees had torn into order to hold the curtain up.”
“Because of the lack of running water and flush toilets in the upper cell block, it is impossible to lock detainees in their individual cells.”
This isn’t humane, or secure, and it also opens the county up to liability. We don’t need more lawsuits.
Speaking of security, “On the second day of the inspection one staff member was walking around the secured jail area with his handgun on his person.” The inspector continued, “No one should be allowed to enter the secured area of the jail with a weapon upon their person.”
A correctional officer “left his keys in the cell block door while the chuck hole was open, as well as the the secure door being propped to the remainder of the jail.”
“Exterior doors of the jail were opened…while the fence around the back of the jail was also insecure. These insecure doors created an unobstructed passage to the parking lot of the jail.”
I don’t blame the ECSD staff. It’s a matter of training, and they have a tough job. But all these things are completely unacceptable. They are also completely in the Sheriff’s control, and would have little or no impact on the budget.
They just require a Sheriff who pays attention to detail, follows through, and can maintain proper training, standards, and supervision. They require a Sheriff who wants to do it.
I’ll be a working Sheriff who takes all of these things very seriously. I’ll work very hard to bring the ECSD back into legal compliance and operate the jail safely, humanely, and securely.
2018 Candidate for Edgar County Sheriff