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Paperwork Issues Result in County Jail Noncompliance

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“It’s all in the paperwork. We are not in compliance,” lamented Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams Wednesday morning after reading Tuesday’s report on the inspection of Hopkins Count Jail.

Adams stated the new jail building and grounds are in compliance. However, three areas in the paperwork are not in compliance. The level of noncompliance will not affect the jail house either local or out of county inmates. He stated this is not a remedial noncompliance. He expects the jail to be in compliance with the reports for the next quarter.

The three specific areas of non-compliance include recreation, life and safety issues, and disciplinary grievance. Adams stated that a problem at the old jail should never be a problem at the current jail. He stated recreation facilities are in compliance in the new facility. The problem in documentation evolved when jailers recorded the time and date inmates were taken to recreation but failed to record when the inmates  were returned to their cells. Adams called the infraction aggravating “…because they know to do that but get busy or forget and don’t finish paper work.” He stated supervisors should be checking the reports but they failed to do so.

Life and Safety issues revolve around recording the instruction given to new personnel regarding the location of fire extinguishers and other equipment used in case of a fire and the location of keys should the electrical power be down. Also the time and date of quarterly retraining was not noted or was not performed. “Without the paperwork, there is no proof of work performed.”

Adams said that anytime an inmate is to be disciplined, the inmate has 24 hours to address his grievance regarding the discipline to the proper authorities. The 24 hour period is to pass before the discipline is carried out. Again, no paperwork was available to show the steps taken.

Adams noted that the move from the old jail to the new jail was part of the problem. The records requested may have been placed in storage and not located for the inspectors. Everything else was in compliance according to the Sheriff. He said steps will be taken to correct the issues. A meeting with jail supervisors will motivate those employees to check the work to make sure it is performed. A staff meeting for the jail will follow. In that meeting jailers will be instructed and encouraged to ask questions when they are unsure of what must be recorded in the paperwork. The Sheriff said he would be the motivational speaker for the two meetings.

The sheriff said the good news is that as the holidays approach the jail will traditionally have fewer inmates. However, after the first of the year numbers will again increase. He expects all to be in compliance as he ends his 20-years as sheriff December 31.

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Author: Staff Reporter

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