Hopkins County Jail passed state standards jail inspection that was conducted Tuesday. Sheriff Lewis Tatum and the jail staff were told at 6:30 p.m. by the inspector that the jail staff had performed exceptionally well this past year. The jail had difficulties in last year’s inspection but, according to Sheriff Tatum the jail was new and the jail administrator was also new. Paperwork was the problem last year. This year all “i’s” were dotted and “t’s” crossed according Tatum.
Tatum stated that the staff had studied and learned all that was needed to comply with paperwork standard’s. With a total of thirty employees working in four shifts, Tatum said there is a huge turnover in the jail. He noted that it is not just the pay. Stress plays a role in the work of the jailer. The sheriff noted that there are not only drug arrests but also murderers, sexual predators, and others who are often counted among the average 145 inmates at the jail. He noted that there have been jailers who suffer panic attacks before arriving at work. He stated that when two jailers walk into a pod of eight inmates with diverse backgrounds, there is the necessity of “presence” for the jailer. The stress plays a role in keeping up with paperwork as well.
Tatum credited the administrator and jail captain for their management of staff and the jail. Commissioners Court has also provided funds that will allow for part-time jailers as needed. The county farm has also added to the work load for jail staff. He pointed out that when jailers take prisoners to the farm it leaves the workforce at the jail shorthanded. Tatum said staying within jail standards and caring for the staff are a top priority.
Jail standards inspectors can drop in at any time, according to Tatum. He stated there is no specific schedule for inspectors. However, he said the jail was ready for this inspection and, for the staff, paperwork and rounds were top priorities. The inspector also praised the upkeep of the jail. Tatum stated that inmates clean their pods and make their beds daily. Maintenance is also a priority.