A Day at the Pickens County Adult Detention Center
February 22, 2011

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KnowPickens.com visited the Pickens County Adult Detention Center for an in-depth overview of the facility. Fingerprint services are utilized for firearm permit applications, employment or other reasons, but we wanted to explore behind the locked doors. Lt. Steve Riggs, Jail Administrator, took time to go through the booking process, answer questions about life as an inmate and allow us to witness training of newly hired officers.

The Detention Center serves as pre-trial confinement and holding for some state sentenced inmates waiting to be transferred to the State system. Once the Department of Corrections receives paperwork from the Clerk's office, the county is reimbursed at a rate of $21 a day per state inmate. Housing a state inmate is profitable because the estimated cost for an inmate is $17 per day and some have been there well over a year.

The facility can house 154 inmates with 144 in general population, two in Medical and eight in Intake. The tour started with 106 inmates; one was released by the end of our visit. Following up with Lt. Riggs a week later, the population changed to 117 with 102 males and 14 females.

In order to understand the booking process, we entered the building like we arrived in a patrol car. An officer has to secure his weapon in a lock-box within the area, which resembles a large garage, before the person is removed from the vehicle to enter the main facility. Each entry/exit has two doors with only one being open at a time.

With the lingering memory of the harsh clang of the door closing, we entered the Intake area where a person is searched before beginning the booking process. Special precautions are used with women by either having a female officer perform the search or a male using the back of his hand or baton.

Video tour of the
Adult Detention Center

Video is 8 minutes and recorded with flip type camera.

For those suspected of DUI, there is an Intox testing room with a special restraining chair, if needed for their protection, and an Intoxilyzer 5000 for breath alcohol testing. We noticed the security camera in this room and discovered that we were being watched, heard and recorded everywhere in the building.

An officer is required to fill out a prisoner information form or another one if waiting for a warrant to be taken (TBT). The mug shot is taken at this time. There are only 48 hours to secure a warrant and Lt. Riggs said they normally have them within 12 hours. After the 48 hours have passed without securing a warrant the person is released with a citation.

Once a warrant is obtained, their electronic fingerprints are taken and then the first appearance before one of the three Magistrate judges: Larry Ray, Allen Wigington or Lasandra Cooley. Advances in technology allow these appearances to be held via teleconference. After bail is set they're returned to a holding cell where they'll have roughly four hours to make bond or they'll be booked into population.

We ran into Kai Rich with ABC Bonding Co. who was waiting to bond someone out. He explained that his company guarantees the bond and receives 10% of the bond amount upfront which is their bond fee. There is careful consideration in who they decide to bond and often require some collateral to insure that the defendant will appear in court. Bondsmen are mindful of the defendant's activities because they're responsible for the entire amount if the person fails to show up for court. There are six bonding companies that serve Pickens County.

If a person is unable to obtain a bond, they're booked into the population and are required to wear an orange jumpsuit and orange shoes. Their possessions are stored in containers to be retrieved upon release. If incarcerated they're given Toilet Paper, Shampoo, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Soap, Cup, Spork, and Bedroll with Blanket, Sheet, Towel and Wash Cloth. Again these necessities have to be purchased through the Canteen Commissary Services.

Before an inmate is allowed into the population, they must have a medical exam that includes being tested for Tuberculosis. The area used resembles a doctor's office with a nursing station, exam rooms and its own pharmacy. Another unique feature is the negative-pressure room used for isolating an inmate with a contagious disease. A doctor visits weekly.

There are eight pods, lettered A-H, with each pod varying in size and occupants. Females are housed in pod A and male maximum security is pod B where only two are allowed per cell compared to four in all others. Pod A is also classified as disciplinary-segregation and then there is admin-segregation where some inmates are kept in cells in Intake. It was overheard when one inmate thanked them for letting him stay in intake cells because of his phobia.

Inmates, except max security and disciplinary-segregation, are out of the cells from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily, unless certain situations arise to put the entire ADC on lockdown. Lockdown will occur if a fight breaks out in housing, something is missing from the kitchen, power outage or a tornado warning.

Recreation time for all housing units is conducted daily providing that the temperature is above 40 degrees and not storming outside. The recreation area is a large room with a basketball goal, a basketball on the floor and over a third of the back wall is open to the outside and covered with heavy wire.

We went inside pod G that was empty because it was recently painted. The inmates are responsible for keeping their cells clean. A TV is in the common area and an inmate is allowed a Flex pen, paper, three pictures, three books & Commissary in their cell. A rolling library cart is taken around weekly for inmates to exchange books. Donations of paperback books for the inmates are always welcomed.

The Tower control room gives a bird's eye view over all the pods. The Commissary information is kept here as well. An inmate purchases their toiletries, snacks, playing cards and other items from the Canteen Commissary Services. Family members and loved ones fund this account by bringing money to the center or online at www.mycarepack.com. Orders must be placed by Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. for Thursday delivery.

The Multi-purpose room is used for worship services as well as GED classes. There are over 17 hours of worship services a week and GED classes are offered twice a week. Chattahoochee Technical College offers the GED classes at no charge with the program being led by Jackie Troup. Volunteers assist with the teaching after they've gone through training that includes dealing with a hostage situation. Eight inmates received their GED last year and already three have accomplished it this year.

Visitation days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The day depends on the inmate's last name. They're only allowed four hours a week between four visitors that are required to be on a list that can be changed on the 1st and the 15th. Out of state visitors will be given special consideration if they possess a valid State ID. Attorneys and pastoral visits are allowed anytime.

An inmate work force, dressed in navy or green, handles the laundry as well as preparing and delivering meals. Inmates are given roughly 3200 calories a day that includes a hot breakfast, sandwich at lunch and a hot dinner. Enough food is kept on hand to feed them for five days, but with the winter weather, it was extended to seven. It's required for them to keep past meals, called 'Dead Man Trays' for up to 21 days in case there is a sickness or death.

After we finished touring the detention area, we stumbled across newly hired officers, Rodney Decker, Jarrit Pack and Kristine Scurry. They were training all week and Lt. Riggs was teaching their next class. They all agreed to let us video and photograph their pepper spray training where each was sprayed in the face. We hope to capture them being tasered later this month.

The day at the Adult Detention Center was enlightening and educational. Thanks to the Pickens County Sheriff's Office for allowing us the opportunity.




Jasper, Georgia in Pickens County in the North Georgia Mountains
Blaine, Hinton, Jasper, Ludville, Marble Hill, Nelson, Talking Rock & Tate GA

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