“It’s a danger to our safety” Overcrowded prison puts inmates and staff at risk | News

Lauderdale County Detention Center tackles a major problem of overcrowding.

The inmates exceed the number of beds by more than 100, and there are not enough staff to monitor them.

This puts a strain on the staff, who have to deal with detainees who are frustrated with their living conditions.

Sergeant Christy Davis says their working conditions push employees to their physical and emotional limits as they work 6 or 7 days in a row with sometimes 30 hours of overtime.

On a daily basis there are about nine people working a twelve hour shift, while ideally there should be 10 or 11 on staff.

While that doesn’t seem like much of a difference, those two extra people are important when dealing with 350 inmates.

Especially when the cells are full of people, which also puts a strain on the inmates.

“It’s a 16-man cell, and right now I have 19-20 people in those cells. So overcrowding, people get, they get anxious, they get mad about that and everything, so it’s more of a risk to the job. It’s a danger to our safety when we have to deal with all of this, “said Sergeant Davis.

At present, the detention center has 368 inmates and only 250 beds. More than a hundred detainees have to sleep on the floor. These living conditions lead to more violence between inmates, which can be dangerous for the barely tense staff.

“It’s getting hard, it’s getting very hard,” said Sergeant Christy Davis.

She says they find it difficult to take care of all the inmates.

“I might have a guy working in this room today with 157 people, all by himself,” says Sgt. Davis.

They pack 20 people into cells of 16 people.

“The inmates, you know you’re trying to put yourself in their shoes. You know, locked in a 12 foot by 16 foot room 24 hours a day with 10 or 12 other guys, that’s just a recipe for disaster.” , explains the Lauderdale County Sheriff. Rick Singleton.

They have to use the rooms of the lawyers’ clients to house people.

“I was talking to an inmate who has been in a holding cell for 4 months now,” he said, sleeping on the floor. sleep on the floor, ”says Sheriff Singleton.

This is not a new problem. The sheriff says they have seen their numbers gradually increase since 2015.

“When they passed the Prison Reform Bill in 2015, it was intended to alleviate some of the overcrowding issues in state prisons, which he did, but it pushed him to the level of the county, so now we have to deal with it in county jails, ”Sheriff Singleton said.

The solution?

“We need a bigger prison and we need to recruit more people who are ready, willing and able to work and do the things that we need to do,” said Sgt. Davis.

However, there is a problem.

“How are we going to pay for this? Sheriff Singleton asks.

The facility is 25 years old, so Sheriff Singleton says they need a new building. But he said it would cost around $ 60 million for a new building, and the prices are only going up.

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Susan W. Lloyd