FOX6 News tours Walker Co. Jail after sheriff shares security co - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

FOX6 News tours Walker Co. Jail after sheriff shares security concerns

Jail Administrator Trent McCluskey takes FOX6 News on a tour. Source: WBRC video Jail Administrator Trent McCluskey takes FOX6 News on a tour. Source: WBRC video
McCluskey says the inmates have picked the locks on their cell doors. Source: WBRC video McCluskey says the inmates have picked the locks on their cell doors. Source: WBRC video
WALKER COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

A week after sharing his concerns over jail security, Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey allowed FOX6 News to tour the facility.

We didn't see any inmates picking locks, but the sheriff's office tells us it is happening. Tirey is collecting bids to find out what it would cost to repair the jail and he will send the estimates over to the commission. But in the meantime, the department is concerned.

"If this lock can be breached there's no limit. The free world is available," said Jail Administrator Trent McCluskey.

McCluskey says inmates are able to smuggle in drugs and other banned items into the jail. He showed us one of the locks. He says inmates in cells can easily use string or cardboard to unlock a cell door. He says they can pick a lock on the outside doors within seconds and get out.

"We're doing head counts to make sure no one has escaped," said McCluskey.

He says jailers are working around the clock to not only secure the facility, but to make sure all other tasks are completed.

"Booking both in and out, dressing out, searching inmates. It would include shake down of cell searches which have had to be increased intensified because of contraband being found inside the jail by the breach of security of cells that don't lock, and external doors that can be picked," said McCluskey. "What are the jailers doing? Well they're certainly not sitting around."

Walker County commissioners say they've already given the sheriff money to fix the locks and say that this problem has gone on for more than a decade. McCluskey admits they've had issues with some of the locks in the past, but he says this time the problem is much bigger than anyone realizes.

"We're talking about something that was revealed to us in recent times, that these bigger locks have been compromised and the external doors can be opened by prisoners of the Walker County Jail," he said.

Commissioners say they have no problem fixing the jail, but they want to see bids. They've already given the sheriff $50,000. But until the bids come in on repairs, the price tag is unknown.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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