The Jasper County Jail in Carthage is becoming a more secure place as repairs continue to locks, sliding door mechanisms and the electronics that control those systems.
Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser said $800,000 worth of repairs to security systems, fire suppression and the controls to those systems are moving right along and should be done in four weeks, baring any glitches.
“We are satisfied with the work,” Kaiser said after giving The Carthage Press a short tour of the jail on Tuesday.
“As with any project when you have multiple disciplines of electronics and plumbing and metal work and the technology and software side,” Kaiser added. “When you have multiple disciplines trying to come together and get something done, you'll have some little glitches and hangups and we've had those but it's not anything significant or major. It's been good.”
Cornerstone Detention Products, with Tanner, Ala., is the contractor on the more-than-$800,000 project that is fixing locks that wouldn't lock, doors that wouldn't close and a 20-year-old electronic system controlling security in the jail that was prone to failure.
“We had a pretty significant problem with prisoners being able to open their cell doors pretty much at will and obviously when you're trying to run a jail, keeping people inside is an important aspect of that,” Kaiser said. “The detention staff is very happy with these improvements because it had gotten to the point where it was not safe for them in a lot of respects. When you're working in a detention center like this, you expect the mechanics of it to work properly and when it doesn't it can put you in a situation you don't want to be in.”
Kaiser walked through the jail pointing to sliding door sliders that had been fixed, locks that had been replaced, and a new touch-screen computer system controlling the doors, fire suppression, alarms and other systems.
“Obviously the technology side of the improvements is also pretty significant,” Kaiser said. “We've got new wiring that controls the electronics as well as the speakers and the fire suppression system and all of these improvements have been pretty substantial.”
While the new electronics are helpful, most of the work has involved fixing broken items that made the jail and unsafe and unpredictable place to work.
“This was simply restoring stuff that was literally not working, not functional before,” Kaiser said. “We do have a little better system with that control panel that I was telling you about. It's a touch screen, and it's a pretty cool system in that the officer that is working up there or in the tower has full control over the lights and even in some cases the water. That part is kind of nice, but the majority of this project is just simply putting it back to operational level.”
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