TRUMBULL COUNTY JAIL Overcrowding stirs inmate complaints



The county jail is housing about 350 inmates.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- With some Trumbull County jail inmates complaining of a lack of hot water and of sleeping on the floor, jail officials say they are doing their best to handle the high population.
The jail is designed to hold about 300 inmates but is now housing around 350, said Ernie Cook, chief of operations.
"This is our peak period," Cook said. "I know there are inmates that may not be happy, but we are doing everything we need to do. No one is actually sleeping on a bare floor."
If a cell is not available, inmates are grouped in a pod and given cots.
Sheriff Thomas Altiere could not be reached to comment.
A few inmates, who called The Vindicator on Tuesday, said the jail ran out of cots and some were sleeping on thin mattresses placed on the floor.
"I was not aware anyone was sleeping on a mattress. I'll have to check that out," Cook said.
Other complaints
The inmates also complained that there is no hot water available for showering.
Cook said that the jail is getting two boilers repaired, so hot water has been shut off from time to time during the day.
"We have hot water, but there may be times it is not available because of repairs," Cook said. "We are doing the best we can."
In January 2003, the Trumbull County grand jury toured the facility as part of its duty and noted concerns about overcrowding.
The grand jury noted at that time the facility was housing 310 prisoners.
Cook said that he wishes overcrowding is something he could control. "There isn't much we can do," he said.
The 6-year-old Trumbull County Jail occasionally has to turn away prisoners arrested on misdemeanor charges. It is not unusual to have 330 prisoners booked into the facility, and the inmate count occasionally tops 350, Cook said.
Trumbull and Mahoning County officials have discussed creating a regional jail, but no action has been taken.
sinkovich@vindy.com

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