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Marshall County sheriff says jail cells have holes large enough to crawl through

Sheriff Phil Sims said dozens of jail cells are damaged.

Posted: May 21, 2019 7:52 PM
Updated: May 21, 2019 8:05 PM

The damage inside the Marshall County Jail is so bad, the sheriff said there are cells with holes large enough to crawl through. Now, he hopes repairs are on the fast track. 

Sheriff Phil Sims said dozens of jail cells are damaged. Some have giant holes in the walls, and some have doors that won't lock.

"It's never been repaired, so you can hand stuff between. You could lock all your doors, but you could still go from cell to cell to cell," Sims said.

Sims said repairing the damage permanently is his top priority. He said the damaged holding cells were already a problem when he took over as sheriff, and they've only gotten worse.

"The actual blocks, the structure of the jail has been damaged over the years, and it's in need of repairs. It keeps some of our cell doors from locking and properly closing," he said.

Sims said there used to be an intercom system between cells, but over the years, inmates have removed the parts and created holes. Temporary repairs have been made, but the sheriff says it's dangerous, and the solution needs to be permanent.

Sims estimates it will cost more than $500,000 to make the repairs. He said the county commission will vote on Wednesday on awarding a construction bid. If that happens, he doesn't want to waste any time getting the walls fixed.

"Hopefully immediately, within a few days, we can start getting people in," Sims said.

WAAY 31 is told some inmates could be moved to another block while the damaged cells get repaired.

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