IRON COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - The Iron County, Missouri sheriff says he's closing down part of the jail because he said it’s too hot for inmates to live there.
When it feels like 90 degrees outside, Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley said it feels 10 degrees hotter in the jail.
That’s why they’re shutting down the older part of the jail and moving the inmates out.
“My major concern in summer time is the heat,” said Sheriff Medley.
Sheriff Medley said the jail was built around 1867, meaning there’s no air conditioning.
“Original design on the jail cells,” Medley said.
It’s the design of the building, like the three feet thick lime stone walls, steel plate ceiling and a lack of air flow that can cause the temperatures to rise higher inside than outdoors.
“We don’t want anyone having a stroke or heat related injuries,” Medley said.
That’s why the sheriff and his deputies moved inmates out of the older space and across the hall to a newer section of the jail.
“We’ve decided when it’s over 90 we don’t house anyone on this side,” Medley said.
The older space alone holds on average about eight to 10 inmates a day. The newer section can only hold 10 people. That means the sheriff has to send any additional suspected criminals to surrounding county jails for about $40 a day.
“We tried to buy some small air conditioners to put in here, but they seem to be tore up more often, and they did lower humidity but not the temperature,” Medley said.
Sheriff Medley said he hopes they can work towards some sort of improvement for the future, but knows that’s easier said than done.
“We’re no different than any other county, there is no money,” Medley said.
Sheriff Medley said they don’t have any set plans at this time, but hope to build a whole new jail.