Nash County commissioners, sheriff differ on root of issues at detention center

Local News

NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Overcrowding, shoddy repairs, and holes in the fence are making it difficult to keep inmates in and contraband out of the Nash County Detention Center.

Those are just a few issues Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone has identified at the jail.

Despite all of those issues, the Nash County Board of Commissioners has decided against building a new jail.

“If I had to sum this it up, it would be like a horse and pony show,” said Stone. “I didn’t see what came out of this.”

“Our detention center has worked very well up to this point until early 2019,” said Nash County Board Chair Robbie Davis. “It’s our belief that nothing changed overnight that would make it inadequate at this point in time.”

Since Stone took office in 2014, he’s noted multiple issues with the jail.

“If anybody would think this is suitable to keep inmates in, and this is the place where our inmates have been going out of here out of this exact fencing,” said Stone. “This is the type of retrofits we’re doing just to get by.”

Stone said $90,000 was spent on repairs recently but the same issues persisted.

“It’s raining today, if this water is getting in what else could be getting in?” asked CBS17 reporter Holden Kurwicki.

“That’s exactly right,” said Stone.

“Do you feel like they could be passing drugs or anything else in here?” asked Kurwicki.

“Sure they are,” said Stone. “An inmate told me that.”

The Nash County commissioners believe the issue isn’t with the jail itself, but with a lack of staffing.

“I think it’s primarily a lack of attention to detail,” said Davis.

Stone denied that saying the facility drives the operation.

As a consultant reviews jail policy, Stone said one thing is abundantly clear:

“We do not need to bandaid it. We need to fix it.”

Monday’s developments come just days after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services ordered the inmate population at the detention facility to be immediately reduced.

According to DHHS, many of the issues that need correcting have to do with fire detection and response. They include the smoke evacuation system, repairing or replacing non-functioning two-way communication, installing fire alarm A/V units, and a firefighter control panel.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners will discuss upgrades to the jail at their February meeting.

Even if the commissioners vote to approve upgrades, or an addition to the jail, it could take two years before work is complete.

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