FALLS CITY – Richardson County Sheriff Don Pounds expects to hire additional correctional staff after illegal drugs have made it into secure areas of the county jail.
The sheriff made his remarks after a delegation from Taking Back Our Community got on the county board agenda regarding reports that inmates were sniffing crushed pills, had meth hidden in their street clothes and meth was found in a cell.
Sheriff Pounds explained that the arresting officer would typically conduct a pat down search of a suspect and search the person again in the vestibule area before entering the secure areas of the jail.
Once inside, there is a strip search and, while the inmates are given new clothes to wear, the sheriff said the arresting officer also searches their street clothes.
Pounds: “In my career, every jail is the same way. That’s the way it’s done.”
In one incident, jailers found meth in a shoe that had been placed in a possession drawer.
Pounds: “He didn’t have possession of it once the PD officer took his shoes away, but it still should have been found.”
In another incident, jail administration searched the cell of a man police had arrested. Pounds said meth was found in the cell in a container that was larger than a film canister.
Pounds: “It wasn’t like he put it inside his body cavity or something, in my opinion, it just wasn’t searched.”
In another incident, an inmate lit up a cigarette after being put in a holding cell. The sheriff says searches are important.
Pounds: “We tell the PD and the PD says you can’t make us do it. Well, they are right, I can’t make them do it. So, now I’m going to have to employ more correctional officers because we have to have males searching males, females searching females. We only have one male out there that is a jailer right now.”
Regarding prescribed medicines, Sheriff Pounds said the inmates’ medicine is dissolved in water for them to drink, but they had been able to purchase Tylenol on the commissary.
Pounds: “They were taking those pills and crushing them up and snorting it. That’s the pills that you are hearing about… I heard that they were not taking them properly. It’s been discontinued. They can not get pills of any kind now. They are furious about it, but that’s the way it is.”
Pounds said Richardson County has had 299 booked in on charges and less than 1 percent had contraband.
He said that’s good “even though we have someone working against us, getting the stuff in.”