GRAND JURY: JAIL IS FINE WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS

CATEGORY: Lee County

AUTHOR: MOULDE

GRAND JURY: JAIL IS FINE WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

In its February report, the Lee County Grand Jury said it found the county jail’s overall appearance “fine,” but cited prisoner complaints that medical attention was inadequate.

The report, stemming from a state requirement that a grand jury inspect public facilities, also pointed to minor problems at the old courthouse, the Justice Court building, and the new Justice Center.

The panel reported unsightly plastic sheeting and garbage bags hanging in jail cells; unworkable water, heat and light fixtures; dirty air conditioning and refrigeration units; and, problems in the exercise yard.

“Prisoners complain of scabies and a lack of medical attention unless someone actually passes out,” the jury report states.

Jurors also reported the sheriff wore his gun while visiting a weapons-free area.

However, the report lodged no scathing complaint about conditions and noted, “The kitchen area was clean and the cooking food smelled good.”

The Juvenile Center was also pronounced “fine,” although jurors cited the use of a glass for “viewing inmates” as “inappropriate and questionable.”

County supervisors in December let a construction bid for a new jail, due for occupancy in mid-1997, that officials hope will clear up the problems that plague the old detention facility.

The grand jury noted several minor problems at the old courthouse, but added, “The attic is dangerous so we did not look inside.”

The Justice Court building “had an overall clean and neat appearance,” although some roof and ceiling tiles need replacing, the report states.

Roof leaks at the new Justice Center have also damaged tiles, but the major complaint by workers there involved the heating-and-cooling system, jurors said.

“It’s either too hot or too cold,” the report stated. “The unit cannot seem to control the airflow.”

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