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Jail introducing new feature to encourage inmate tips



Published: Thu, February 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



WARREN -- Snitching has never been easier.

The Trumbull County Jail is introducing a new feature for its internal telephone system, to allow inmates to secretly inform on their cell mates and colleagues.

Ernest Cook III, chief deputy of the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department, said the idea was inspired by the Crime Stoppers newspaper feature.

"How many bad guys really read the paper?" he said. "I thought the perfect environment for something like that would be in the jail. That's where all the bad guys are."

The tip line system in Trumbull County Jail will be a first in the roughly 2,000 jails that use phone systems by Louisville, Ky.,-based Evercom, said territory manager Melinda Riddle Parsons. Cook was presented with a plaque Wednesday for coming up with the idea.

Recorded: Calls to the tip line will be recorded, and officials will give copies of the voice messages to local police departments, Cook said. Evercom is not charging for implementing the feature.

The tip line phone number will be advertised on posters and handed out to inmates, Cook said. The names of informants will be confidential, and the phones are in a part of the jail which is too noisy for conversations to be overheard, he said.

Inmates will be eligible for any outstanding rewards for criminals they turn in. They may also be rewarded with a credit to their accounts at the jail commissary, Cook said.




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