Mental health an on going problem in Terrell Co. jail

Terrell Co. Inmate Mental Health

DAWASON, Ga. (WALB) - Mental health and lack of surveillance is an on going safety issue at the Terrell County Jail, according to the jail administrator who was attacked on the job.

We are told it becomes a revolving door of inmates with mental health issues coming in and out of the jail.

The current camera system doesn't have good quality video and will be replaced next week. (Source: WALB)
The current camera system doesn't have good quality video and will be replaced next week. (Source: WALB)

The lives of inmates and staff are at risk when problems happen and so far there’s no reliable way to prove it.

It's not just inmates behind the doors in the Terrell County jail.

“We have issues to the point that the safety of the staff becomes an issue,” said Sandra Walker, the jail administrator whose safety has been at risk a few times.

Administrator Sandra Walker (Source: WALB)
Administrator Sandra Walker (Source: WALB)

“I was closer to that brown door,” she said while pointing out a blind spot in the jail where she was injured trying to break up a fight between inmates.

“That’s what made realize we need some new cameras,” Walker explained.

Cameras are just one part of the problem. She said they often see inmates with mental health problems, that they try to help with jail resources, but that doesn’t always work.

“Sometime when they come to jail, you know that’s when they get treatment. With the number of mental health facilities that have shut down in Southwest Georgia, it’s kind of hard to get an inmate placed somewhere," she explained.

Officers at the Terrell County Jail say they are picking up on their training and taser skills to protect themselves, while they wait for the jail's new surveillance camera system. (Source: WALB)
Officers at the Terrell County Jail say they are picking up on their training and taser skills to protect themselves, while they wait for the jail's new surveillance camera system. (Source: WALB)

The jail provides medicine and treatment, but Walker said sometimes it not enough when it comes safety.

“This is an on going issue within the jail,” she said.

She said if anything can help, it would be having a reliable eye in the sky.

“If something ends up in court, we need that evidence. We need that proof to say this is what happened, this is how it happened,” said Walker.

The Terrell County Board of Commissioners approved a $40,000 camera system that will cover all angles of the jail, which will be installed in the jail next week.

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