Local News

Cumberland County Sheriff Vows To Fix Problems At New Jail

Posted September 15, 2003

— Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler said firing a jailer for setting two inmates free by mistake is just one step toward cleaning up problems at the new jail.

More changes could be on the way.

The Cumberland County Detention Center is not even a year old but already is under fire. In seven months, there have been two inmates released by accident, two inmate suicides, two inmates charged with possession of cocaine, and two jailers accused of having sex with inmates and smuggling drugs and alcohol behind the prison walls.

"I'm very tired of these situations," Butler said.

Butler said his deputies are investigating "from the back door of the jail to the front door." He expects a report with recommendations soon.

"I think it boils down to training and supervision," Butler said. "And, certainly, we are looking at different areas of supervision within the jail, and we are going to make some changes."

Right now, the specifics of those changes are blurry.

"If the sheriff has said that he is going to get this straight, we expect that he will get things straight," said Cumberland County Commissioner Billy King.

Meanwhile, the county commissioners -- who spent $36 million on the jail -- also are keeping close watch.

"We invested a tremendous amount of money in a new facility," King said. "We thought we had a staff in place to handle everything. But, I guess, in any venture, you are going to have a few bugs in it initially."

Many people are confident those bugs will get worked out soon. The question is how.


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