Crowding forces some Westmoreland jail inmates to sleep on cots in gym
By Kari Andren
Published: Sunday, July 7, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
Six Westmoreland County jail inmates are bunking on cots in the women's indoor gym because some prisoners must be kept alone in cells, Sheriff Jonathan Held said.
Of the 598 inmates assigned to the jail as of Saturday afternoon, 102 were women, “which is high for females,” Held said. “The female population has been building recently.”
The jail can typically accommodate 100 women, but officials had to dedicate some double-occupancy cells to inmates with disciplinary problems or those on suicide watch, pushing six inmates out of cells and onto the gym cots, said Held, who is chairman of the county prison board.
The board will meet at 10 a.m. Monday at the jail, and officials plan to discuss the issue, Held said.
At the board's June meeting, Warden John Walton told board members that at 615 inmates, the facility was nearing capacity. He warned that if inmate numbers continued to increase, some would have to be housed in areas normally dedicated to booking, inmate labor staff, protective custody and the disciplinary unit.
“The reason we have the cots is because we anticipate that if we do have overflow, that's what we have to do with (the inmates),” said Charles Anderson, chairman of the board of county commissioners. “It's part of the cost of doing business.”
Held and Anderson both said they did not know why the jail's population has been growing during the past few months.
“That's the way it is. I don't know what the reason for that is,” Anderson said.
Held said the issue could resolve itself Monday once judges issue release orders, inmates post bail or some complete their sentence and are released.
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Workers injured at facility for youths
- County takes lead on Monsour demolition
- Ex-employees to split $9,176 in pension mess
- Goats may be answer for overgrown sign outside Murrysville
- Fire displaces families in Irwin
- Westmoreland Manor manager gets 3-month extension
- Probation officer testifies client’s calls scared her
- New Stanton plots light-up night for next year
- Grant to fund sewer system at Westinghouse site
- Scrapbooking class set at Alverton church
- Commissioners OK reassessment option