Improvements in jail overcrowding and plans for new rehabilitation programs for Warren County Jail inmates are in the works.
With overcrowding being an issue in the past, Sheriff’s Department Major Jason Walker informed committee members of the reduction in size of the jail population being achieved with one bed still open.
The jail can hold 251 inmates. As of Tuesday, 250 spaces were filled.
“The total population is 250, which means we have one bed available,” said Walker. “When we took over a year ago, the number was 337 inmates.”
Walker also presented the August statistics regarding Warren County Sheriff’s Department and Warren County Jail.
For August, authorities responded to a total of 2,014 calls, transported 32 individuals from Saint Thomas River Park Hospital to mental facilities across the state, served a total of 328 criminal warrants and 547 civil warrants, made 361 reports on miscellaneous offenses and reported 32 state crashes.
Regarding the August statistics for Warren County Jail, Walker stated the jail population as of Tuesday consisted of 193 males and 57 females, and 163 inmates had already received sentences while 87 still had not.
The average daily count for August was 264. The highest daily count was 275 and the lowest was 249.
“It’s kind of a revolving door,” says Walker. “You get rid of 300 people and bring 300 people back in.”
The reduction in the number of inmates is saving money in every aspect, from meals to other necessities. However, as people are released, others continue to be booked into the jail. Due to this issue, rehabilitation and skill-training are planning to be administered soon to try to reduce the cycling of individuals through the system.
“We’re going through the mental health part in order to perk the inmates up and give them a better attitude, but we’re also trying to give them different skills so when they do get out, they will be able to find a job,” said Commissioner Ron Lee.
England is working toward gaining a type of certification through Snap-On tools called NC3. NC3 is an entry-level program designed for colleges, high schools and other education institutions looking to offer certifications on a small scale and limited budget.
“We’re very close to making this happen. I’m trying to get certified for my forklift training by this spring,” says England. “We have a forklift at school that has been all-certified, and we have a great place at school to set up an obstacle course for training how to stack bins and palettes with a forklift. I’m hoping we can get some inmates trained on that because, believe it or not, there is a shortage of co-production. We’re trying several different avenues, but as you know, nothing happens overnight.”