Lack of Safety at the Warren County Jail a Major Concern


Sergeant Matt Greenlief at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office gave members from the radio station a tour of the jail and as soon as you walk through the door, a lack of safety can be seen. Since the Sheriff’s Office opened back in 1897, time has been rough on the jail. In just a 15 by 15 square foot room, all the booking for an inmate takes place. Sergeant Greenlief shares just how difficult that small area can be:

“As you can see it’s also cramped. It all works fine until somebody doesn’t want to cooperate. And if you can imagine trying to restrain somebody that isn’t wanting to cooperate, with all this equipment and stuff around, it’s really tough,” states Greenlief.

The safety concerns don’t stop there either. Visitation for the inmates happen on Sundays and Tuesdays and close corners are visible there as well. Three spots are available at a time and if more than one person comes to visit just one inmate, you can imagine just how cramped it can be.

Considering all of the safety affairs already mentioned, the maximum concern is not being able to address each inmate individually. Greenlief discusses more on the matter:

“One of the biggest security things we face is we cannot control each individual cell. So if we have to lock the inmates down for whatever reason, if we have an issue inside, we cannot isolate those people from other inmates, or ourselves. We have to open up the whole cell block when we go inside,” Greenlief says.

With all of these close quarters, the inmates have nowhere to get away from one another, which can in return make it very difficult and unsafe for the correction officers.

The Sheriff’s Office is actively hiring, because with their lack of staff, the opening of the jail will be pushed further down the road. Keeping in mind, once new staff is hired, they are away at training for five weeks before being able to work at the jail.

“There were 39 employees that have left here. That’s a lot for our population over 10 years. Of those 39 we have replaced those 39, but we have lost our experience. And this is a small area. We already had the applicants from this area, they have already applied and left and gone elsewhere,” states Greenlief.

Being able to hire new employees willing to work in such a stressful environment, is in high demand in order for the Warren County jail to reopen. The Sheriff’s Office has been in constant contact with the county board, working to get the jail back open since the closing of the Warren County jail.

written by Kelsey Crain

To hear more from Sergeant Greenlief, listen to the link below:


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