Considerations are being made to allow the Sheriff’s Department more control over inmates at the Pulaski County Justice Center.
During Monday night’s Pulaski County Council meeting, Sheriff Jeff Richwine discussed the possibility of using funds from a renegotiated contract to make upgrades to the plumbing at the jail. The changes would allow water to be cut-off for certain devices such as sinks and toilets in individual cells.
Richwine says they had to renegotiate that contract in anticipation of federal changes.
“The FCC is proposing a law to not allow us to take a cut of that phone money and so we negotiated with Securus that if they wanted to stay in the jail, we needed some money up front,” says Richwine.
Securus provides inmate with phone services to communicate with family members and friends. Apart from saving funds on the county’s water bill at the Justice Center, the alterations to the plumbing would prevent certain inmates from potentially creating a mess.
According to Richwine, certain inmates, either through mental illness or through protest flush the toilets repeatedly to waste water and run up costs. In the past, they have also used clothing to clog the drains, creating floods in the cell blocks.
The County maintenance and technology departments would receive training to make the changes. Richwine says there are several reasons to consider the proposal.
“There’s more to it than just saving money,” says Richwine. “It gives our jailers a little more control over our inmates. You know if you’ve got ‘that guy’ we can flip a switch and that kind of takes that tool away from him to fight us back, I guess.”
Total project costs will likely be around $67-thousand. That money is expected to come from the renegotiated contract and through a misdemeanor fund designated for jail upgrades.