COLUMBUS (WCMH) – NBC4 is asking questions after photos surfaced of the inside of the Franklin County jail.
In those photos were pictures of urinals filled with urine, feces, vomit and other bodily fluids as well as pictures of untreated mold.
Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said the Sheriff’s Office is not at fault.
Baldwin was asked if those conditions inside the jail were appropriate for deputies and inmates.
“The conditions today are safe enough to be in there,” Baldwin said.
When pressed about the appropriateness of the conditions, not the safety, Baldwin couldn’t say.
“It’s too hard to answer that way,” he said.
Five months after issues were reported to the maintenance company, the problems are still there.
“They’re not broken,” Baldwin said. “They just don’t drain properly. These were put in probably in 1973. They don’t drain. They’re not sloped. So when anything goes into that, it’s like a trough. It accumulates. It’s a daily day-by-day process to clean those out.”
Baldwin said he was unaware of the issues until last week, but said the Chief Deputy for the Division of Corrections, Penny Perry, knew since August.
“I inherited the problems in the facilities,” Perry said.
Baldwin said it’s not the sheriff’s office’s fault.
“I think when it started appearing — from what I’m being told, this goes back to around September, October — and when it started appearing, there were reports forwarded and that time PFM, Public Facilities Management, they were notified,” Baldwin said. “Again, you’re talking about issues, our staff, that’s not our job. We rely on the building maintenance to do that. This their job.”
PFM is responsible for the maintenance of county facilities.
Baldwin said PFM replaced six of the 10 urinals.
Perry said she did not delay reporting the issues to PFM.
One day after NBC4 exposed what was inside the jail, progress has been made.
“A walk through was conducted just this morning. His findings are in the report, so we can move forward and correct that problem,” Perry said.
When asked the last time she walked through the problematic fifth floor of the jail, Perry said, “It’s been a while, yes.”
Baldwin said the mold was sent out for testing and those tests show its not toxic black mold.
Both Perry and Baldwin said they care about the deputies’ and inmates’ well-being greatly and they hope these problems are fixed within six to eight weeks.
Baldwin said NBC4 cameras would be invited into the building once the problems are cleaned up.
“Yeah, come back, absolutely,” he said. “We have nothing to hide in here. We continue to address the problems as they arise.”
NBC4 reached out to the Fraternal Order Of Police for comment. The FOP represents law enforcement officers that work both in and outside of the jail, including deputies.
In a written statement, FOP Vice President Jeff Simpson said:
“What I and my members hear in the Sheriff’s response is nothing but mistruths and zero accountability. Chief Perry hasn’t been in the main jail in a very long time. She gets paid $160k a year and she can’t lead from her office.
The address to the main jail is: 370 S. Front St and I would encourage Chief Perry to put her boots on the ground there sometime. I guarantee you if the Sheriff’s office or Chief Penny’s office had the same issues within, the problem would have been taken care of immediately.
Does the sheriff really think his response to the situation will sit well with his deputies?