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Need to Increase Staff Noted in Annual Jail Report

January 13, 2011

01/14/11 The 2010 Annual Jail Report for the Marshall County Jail shows that the facility has a total capacity of 248 beds including: 34 2-man cells (68 beds),  4 2-man handicap cells (8 beds), 32 4-man cells (128 beds), 16 beds in the trustee dormitory, 5 single holding cells, 1 padded cell, 19 beds divided in three drunk tanks, 1 segregation cell, and 2 medical isolation cells. 

A total of 29 full-time and 9 part-time dispatcher/jailers are assigned to work in the jail and 9-1-1 communication center.  During 2010 employees worked 2,984 hours of overtime in order to maintain a proper staffing level.   Overtime is down almost a thousand hours from 2009.  In addition to overtime there were 6,688 hors of part-time employee hours used to augment the regular employees and reduce the amount of overtime for full-time employees. 

The proper staffing of the jail is a constant concern of the Sheriff and Jail Commander because improper staffing levels are a liability for the jail staff in the area of safety.   Former Sheriff Jon Van Vactor noted in his annual report, “As the inmate population increased the need for more staff will also increase to ensure the safety of the staff and inmates.” 

Van Vactor had requested two additional full time staff in the 2010 budget.  The County Council denied the request for the needed additional staff even though funds in the special CAGIT was available to pay for the additional staff without putting a burden on the County resources.  He said, “The County Council was made aware of the safety risks involved in not filling this position and they denied the Sheriff’s need for additional staff members even after several members toured the jail facility and saw the need.”   

The report indicates that equipment for the video arraignment was purchased and installed last year.  Since the beginning of May 551 video conference hearings have been held.   This has decreased the amount of transports by vehicle to the courthouse and increased security by not taking the inmates out of the facility.  It has also improved the efficiency of the jail operations and the Courts by allowing for a flexible schedule to conduct hearings. 

The Sheriff’s Department is proceeding to establish a link by means of video conferencing with the Department of Corrections to reduce the number of transports from various facilities within the state to the courthouse for hearings especially for civil cases involving child custody matters. 

The Marshall County Jail was inspected by the Indiana  Department of Corrections Jail Inspector, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Health Department during 2010 either annually or semi-annually as required by Indiana Administrative Coed with no major deficiencies being found.

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