Scott County Jailers Prepare for New Facility
By: Kate Scott
Scott County jailers are brushing up on their defensive moves, before moving prisoners to a big new facility.
(Benton, MO)--After several construction delays, the 120-bed facility is now slated to open by April first. "It's just because we ran out of room that we need the new facility," explains Scott County Captain Jim Chambers. "We're just waiting to make sure everything is right before we actually move into it." That means putting finishing touches not only on the building's construction, but also on the building's crew.
The crew of twelve guards is trying to make sure it's prepared for any situation, when the jail's inmate capacity more than doubles in the new building. The current jail, built in 1932, has a capacity of only 48 inmates. Since Scott County is home to around 85 convicts at the moment, many of them are being housed in other counties until they can be transferred to the new jail. "They'll be housing a lot more prisoners, and the numbers are going to increase the odds of potential problems," says defensive tactics instructor Lawrence Fleming. Diane Horn is a member of the newly-expanded crew. "We're taught how to deal with a hostage crisis, how to do a forced cell movement, how to subdue an inmate, and how to protect ourselves if we're attacked," she explains to Heartland News. Does the idea of those situations make her nervous? "Of course," she responds. "Anybody that doesn't get scared doesn't need to be in this business. Your fear is going to keep you alive."
But the jailers won't have to rely on their physical strength along to keep the new facility under control. They'll have a state-of-the-art video system to help keep an eye on things. There is a camera in each of the jail's seven pods, where inmates will spend most of their time, as most as most other rooms in the facility. That knowledge, along with their defensive training, has the jailers ready to tackle the new responsibility. "This is an excellent facility," says Horn. "I'm kind of anxious to get into it."