Jail update: Population a bit down, showers for delousing, future camera upgrades

At Wednesday’s regular meeting of the three Monroe County commissioners, jail commander Kyle Gibbons gave what has become a routine update from the sheriff’s office on conditions at the facility.

Monroe County jail commander Kyle Gibbons briefs county commissioners on current jail conditions.

The current jail population is down to 188 people, compared to 192 last Wednesday, Gibbons reported. In the last 48 hours, just four new inmates had been booked into the jail, which was more than balanced out by 17 releases during the same period, he said.

The number of felony inmates is 156. There are 27 inmates with misdemeanor charges. Rounding out the jail population are holds for either parole or the state department of corrections.

Gibbons was also at Wednesday’s meeting to ask commissioners to approve a $9,710 purchase that is supposed to help address the problem of lice at the jail. The money was for a showering system, manufactured by Romaine  Companies, which will be deployed in the shower used by inmates when they first get booked into the jail.

The Romaine system allows delousing shampoo to be injected into the stream of water from the showerhead, Gibbons told commissioners.

He described how there’s an access panel on the other side of the wall where the showerhead is mounted, which means that installation of the system won’t require any kind of construction.

Commissioners approved the purchase of the showering system.

Gibbons also gave the commissioners a heads up on a likely upcoming request for adding more cameras and for a general upgrade to the jail’s camera system.

He described how 19 additional cameras would be needed for the jail’s mental health dorm. As an example of how such camera placement would be useful, he gave the example of a woman inmate who is on a hunger strike. Her food intake needs to be closely monitored in order to provide proper medical care, he said.

Gibbons also talked about a request he’d be making soon for an upgrade to the overall camera system, which was installed in 2008—with a projected service life of five to seven years. Based on his conversations with Greg Crohn, who is the county’s chief technology officer, Gibbons is looking at complete system replacement rather than investing in temporary fixes.

The current camera system, consisting of 57 cameras on one server and 56 on another, fails on a regular basis, Gibbons said. A hard drive goes down about every 90 days, he said. As an example, Gibbons described a recent incident when one inmate just walked up and punched another inmate who was just standing  there. About the footage from that incident, Gibbons said, “You can see him walk up, it stops recording for a second, and then records after we’re all in there.”

As a part of his Wednesday briefing, Gibbons also highlighted some retractable seating that has been installed in the sally port. He described the seating as basically a chair that comes down from the wall. Gibbons said it allows law enforcement officers to safely seat prisoners during the intake process. It’s more secure than the previous lightweight chairs, which could be tossed around, he said.

The updates from Gibbons come in the context of some ongoing work by county officials to address the topic of a new jail facility. Related to that work, next up on the calendar is a 4:30 p.m. June 29 meeting of the county council’s justice fiscal advisory committee (JFAC).