Cornerstone Institutional, LLC, was hired by the county and paid $20,000 to come in and do a complete evaluation of all doors and locks at the jail.
The assessment was ordered after two prisoners at the jail briefly escaped on March 19 and followed several incidents where prisoners were able to pry open locked doors.
County officals are now awaiting a report from Cornerstone that should highlight lapses in security at the jail, including faulty locks and doors and other security issues.
“The evaluation is complete,” county commission chairman Billy Luster said this week. “We had asked Cornerstone to come in and do a compete evaluation of every lock to give us an idea as to what kind of shape they were in, and what needed to be done.”
Luster said county officials are primarily concerned right now with making sure the outer perimeter of the facility is adequately secure.
“That’s for obvious reasons, to keep the inmates contained,” he said. “Once we get the perimeter secure, that will take some of the load off the folks here at the jail. Then we’ll work our way in to the inner part of the jail to make sure the locks are working.”
The evaluation included having Cornerstone workers take apart some locks to determine how inmates are able to pry them open and breach secure areas of the jail.
“They physically went to every lock in this jail,” jail administrator Trent McCluskey said. “They examined them, they worked the doors to make sure they were functioning and made notes as to which were not functioning properly, and why they were not functioning.
“They also spent a lot of time looking at the type of hinges on the doors, and compared the security hinges to the other hinges here.”
The evaluation also included the examination of glass used in the jail.
“They compared the tempered glass to the other type of glass in the jail,” McCluskey said. “They were very thorough.”
Both Luster and McCluskey said they feel comfortable with the assessment, and they expect to be able to make any changes deemed necessary by Cornerstone.
“We feel very comfortable with their assessment,” Luster said. “This is a very reputable company. This is their business. This is what they do.”
County officials should receive a report from Cornerstone within six to eight weeks, Luster said.
“We’re kind of crunched for time,” Luster said, “so we really put the pressure on them to let us know something as soon as possible.”
Luster said county officials are expecting the report the county receives to be thorough to let officials know what needs to be done to secure the county jail.
“We expect to get from them the most critical parts of what needs to be fixed immediately,” Luster said. “We just want a thorough evaluation of how to fix the security of this jail, based on a professional opinion.”