Renovations underway at Nash County jail after multiple inmates escape
Posted February 3, 2020 5:42 a.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2020 12:17 p.m. EST
Nashville, N.C. — Officials met Monday to discuss the history of safety issues and inmate escapes at the Nash County Detention Center.
In the meeting, Nash County engineers and the Nash County Sheriff’s Office provided county commissioners with a list of facilities and safety improvements needed at the jail.
County engineer Jonathan Boone said lighting, smoke detectors, plumbing, painting and fencing improvements have already been made and a dozen other changes are in progress.
Major Miste Strickland from the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said officers are receiving more training and booking procedure has been improved, but the sheriff’s office is calling for additional positions to be added to specially oversee the jail.
Twice in 2019, inmates escaped from the jail by punching holes in the fence surrounding the exercise yard.
In the second case, a lock on a door to the yard either malfunctioned or was "sabotaged," according to Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone.
Inmates also started several fires in the jail last year using wires from electrical outlets or light fixtures, authorities said.
Stone said he has been asking county commissioners for help with funding the jail for years. He even took WRAL News inside to show some of the problems.
In December, state regulators ordered the county to move 100 inmates out of the jail until improvements could be made, saying no more than 56 inmates could be housed in the jail during repairs because of safety hazards.
Regulators had cited 25 issues at the jail, including electrical problems, blocked doorways and staffing shortages.
The commissioners are hoping to add about 60 cameras and fix the fencing.