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Jasper County Jail opens new dormitory pod to help alleviate ove - KOAM TV 7

Jasper County Jail opens new dormitory pod to help alleviate overcrowding

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A new dormitory pod opens at the Jasper County Jail to help alleviate overcrowding.

Officials at the Jasper County Sheriff's Office say it's an expansion project that has been underway since last summer.

With an average prison population close to 190 inmates per day, officials at the jail say this year's $40,000 project was much needed.

An unused exercise room, used as storage space for years, has now been transformed.

"For a lot of years this has really been an under-utilized area," said Sheriff Randee Kaiser, Jasper County. "We decided this year to start taking some steps to add some bunks in here. We added a bathroom and shower facility, and did some remodeling, some painting."

With 20 beds, the new pod increases the prison capacity to 183.

All bunks, lockers, tables and security cameras are newly installed.

The dormitory style pod will be used to house lower level offenders.

"Anytime you're able to have multiple segregation areas in the jail, it's a benefit because you try to keep the low level offenders away from different types of offenders, violent offenders," Kaiser said.

Officials say easing overcrowding also benefits jail staff members.

"Whenever we bring the lower offenders over to this pod, it opens up beds in other pods, so it gives us more room," said Lieutenant Shawn Carnes, Jasper County Sheriff's Office. "It really helps out the staff as far as less crowding, less fights."

Officials say less overcrowding also helps to reduce health issues among the inmates.

It has now been a week since inmates moved into the new pod, and staff members say they are already seeing an improvement.

"I'm very pleased with how it turned out," Kaiser said. "I think it's a great use of this area."

"Overall, it's a lot better for everybody," Carnes said. "Not only for us, but also for the inmates."

The project was funded by revenue from Jasper County's Law Enforcement Sales Tax.
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