FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) – NBC4 is investigating after multiple complaints from deputies and inmates of disgusting and unsafe conditions inside of the Franklin County Corrections Center in downtown Columbus, dating back months.
One problem is happening on the jail’s fifth floor. That’s where inmates detox from drugs and alcohol. A Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Inter-Office Correspondence Document shows many of them defecate and vomit in the urinals, clogging them “on a regular basis.”
The smell is so bad inmates throw paper towels and soap in the urinals in an attempt to cover up the smell, which the document says only adds to the issue.
NBC4 also obtained an Incident Report from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office that shows conditions have been a problem for more than three months. The Fraternal Order Of Police is now involved. Capital City Lodge Vice President Jeff Simpson said he has seen the problems firsthand and they’re not being properly addressed.
”So you’re getting several inches of urine, vomit, and other things that need to be cleaned by hand. The stench of it is disgusting,” said Simpson, describing the issue with the urinals on the fifth floor.
Simpson said basically nothing is being done except for a few temporary quick fixes. He said deputies complained many times to Chief Deputy Penny Perry, who’s responsible for the jail. Simpson said she has not put in a real effort to fix the problem. Deputies said they’ve complained since August 2019.
“The stench is disgusting. They’ve been told to throw some chlorine in there but you can’t throw chlorine on top of ammonia. It’s very sick and it causes major damage,” said Simpson.
Our sources sent us pictures from inside of the jail, and Simpson confirmed these are indeed from the jail. After hearing so many complaints he visited the jail himself and saw what he believes is black mold.
”In the kitchen area they have blocked off the ducts with paper and cardboard, and the black mold is still coming out of that, and no embellishment, within two feet of that is the cookers and stoves where they cook soup and make food for the inmates. You can definitely see that there are Band-Aids. Such as the mold is just painted over, but it comes back,” said Simpson.
Officer Simpson said he personally told the Chief Deputy for Corrections what he saw.
“When I inquired with Chief Deputy Penny Perry, I was told the situation has been corrected. That was not the correct information. On the fifth floor there are several sets of urinals and only one set has been corrected. The ones I’ve seen recently, there are over four different sets and none of them are functioning properly,” said Simpson.
On the Franklin County Sheriff’s website, right above Chief Deputy Perry’s picture it states:
“The mission of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Division of Corrections, is the preservation of public safety by providing evidence based, innovative, and progressive service in partnership with the community in an environment of respect and dignity toward those in our custody.”
The FOP said Perry isn’t fully upholding that mission statement.
Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin called NBC4 directly after seeing this story.
Baldwin said he recently found out about the mold fears and called them unacceptable.
It could cost approximately $80,000 to get it removed.