photo taken by Randy Sarvis
On Thursday, March 22nd, Wilmington College’s Corrections class went to the Clinton County Jail. This included a tour of the facility and any questions the students had, answered and led by the Lieutenant and Captain.
We started out the tour in the holding area, where the police would bring in the people that were being booked into jail. In this area, the inmates were searched, showered, and asked questions to learn about who they were and their past history, especially whether they were in other facilities. If they were, this would lead to the color of uniform a person would get. During the booking session, this would also help the staff understand whether the inmate would need to be on suicide watch.
Next, we saw the main hallway, which included the classroom where life skills classes and art therapy are offered, and the visitation area. The visitation area included two stools with a plastic panel in the middle, with a phone on each side, so they could hear each other. A visit could happen twice a week for fifteen minutes at a time. Also, along this hallway was the library, which included two carts that went around the jail to the separate housing facilities. Each inmate would be allowed two books that they could switch out ever so often. At the end of the hallway was the laundry facility, the kitchen, and the commissary closet.
Toward the end of the tour, we were able to go upstairs to the security area where a lady sat with three computers screens and a phone. This is where she answered calls that came from the inmates, and other people with family in the jail. On the computer screens she controlled everything from who came into the jail, who got to go through which door, and she could also see all the different housing units to make sure everything was okay among the inmates and the staff members. This is also where our final questions were answered.
When the corrections class went to the Lebanon prison, we felt that the staff wanted to put off the impression that everything was all flowers and roses. They were closed off when answering our questions, and we left feeling that the prison wasn’t offering enough for it’s inmates. It was the complete opposite at the Clinton County jail. The lieutenant was very open about the different rehabilitative services the jail provided, including mental health services from Solutions, a social worker that worked with inmates in the jail, but also once they reentered into society, and classes that were provided including art therapy and life skills. He did not put off the impression that the inmates were terrible people because they committed a crime, he expressed to us that they were people that just needed help. I left the Clinton County jail feeling that if I wanted to work anywhere that helped inmates to succeed and get the services they need, it would definitely be the Clinton County Jail.