Christmas just another day at jail -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Christmas just another day at jail

December 23, 2005

Albany -- While most South Georgians will be home with their family on Christmas Day, there are many who have to work, like law enforcement.

For deputies at the Dougherty County jail, Christmas will mean keeping special watch on the inmates.

The Dougherty County jail has 816 inmates, most of whom will spend Christmas Day behind bars. Corporal Danny West will be there to watch over them. West said "It's a duty you have to do, once you are called and put on this uniform, you are sworn in to protect and to serve."

For the inmates, Christmas in jail will not include gifts or merriment. The holidays bring more suicides in jails, so guards have to be more alert . Captain Dorothy Stephens said "We make sure we are more visible. We interact more with the inmates to make sure that everyone is safe."

The inmates will get a special meal, but little other Christmas cheer. West said "they can make a phone call to their loved ones outside."

West's wife and three kids will be home, waiting for his 12 hour shift to finish so they can celebrate Christmas as a family.

 But for him and all the jailers, a good feeling serving the community. West said "I think everyone should feel safe. You have some people out here working on their behalf."

About 90 Dougherty County jailers will be working Christmas Day. They are bringing food for a special Christmas lunch.