Etowah Co. Jail to soon begin repairing broken jail locks

Etowah Co. Jail cell locks being repaired

ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Workers in Etowah County will soon begin the long process of replacing more than 200 broke jail cell locks.

It's one of many deficiencies the county's new sheriff says he found after taking office.

Sheriff Jonathon Horton first told us last month about the 212 broken locks, out of 360, when he had a contraband shakedown in the Etowah County Detention Center. He says fortunately they are all on interior doors.

In a photo sent to us by Chief of Corrections Keith Peek, one of the broken locks is on the right, one of the new locks is located on the left.

Peek says they received a mock-up of the new lock and requested some modifications. He says the repairs will begin as soon as they receive the locks with the modifications. The repairs were originally set to begin at the first of February.

Sheriff Horton says the locks are especially important because the 25-year-old detention center is a direct supervision jail, which means the jailers are out among the inmates.

“When you have that kind of setting, you depend on discipline and inmate compliance by having the ability to lock the inmates down inside their cell if they’re not compliant,” Horton said. “Ninety percent of those locks in that section of the jail, in those units, they’re inoperationable.”

Each lock will take up to an hour and a half to install. It follows repairs to broken windows and to exterior security cameras.

Horton says the broken cameras and windows helped many inmates score contraband items that were found in the cells.

Horton describes the jail as “dilapidated,” the conditions for the jailers “horrendous” and dangerous. He says an ongoing construction project should help with a lot of that.

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