Jail has unplanned maintenance

Published 10:07 am Friday, May 27, 2016

The Warren County Jail is undergoing some unplanned maintenance.

Tuesday night a water pipe broke beneath two downstairs cellblocks in the portion of the structure built in 1907, Sheriff Martin Pace said.  With the pipe broken, all water was shut off to the cellblocks, he said.

“Plumbers and the staff have been working to get the piping repaired,” Pace said.

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The two cellblocks holding eight men each had to be closed, he said, and the occupants were transferred to a 20-person vacant cellblock upstairs.

The upstairs cellblocks were vacant because the jail was in the process of doing maintenance on the upstairs cellblocks like fixing the locking mechanism and painting, and the inmates who had occupied the area have been in Madison County for months while the work is being done, he said.

While jail administrator Linda Pugh said maintenance is not complete on the upstairs cellblocks, enough work had been done to house the downstairs inmates for the time being.

“We’re still having some work done in those two cells, but it’s workable,” Pugh said.

She said the downstairs inmates would not return to their cellblocks until the pipe work was completely finished.

New parts have to be ordered because the pipes are beyond repair after having being fixed for so many years, Pugh said.

“Instead of fixing, it’s having to be replaced,” Pugh said.

She said the plumbers have to rip out the wall in the cells to replace the lavatories, consisting of a toilet-sink combination, which costs about $800 to $900 per lavatory.

There is no estimated timeline for how long it will take to complete the pipe replacement.

“Now that its an emergency like this, we are overnighting the parts,” she said, which will add to the costs.

The longer the downstairs inmates are displaced, the longer it will be before the upstairs repairs can be completed and the longer it will be before the Warren County prisoners housed in Madison will be transferred back here, which is another daily cost.

“Housing in another place, that’s very costly,” Pugh said.

She said the county, through the Warren County Purchasing Department, pays for the labor and new parts.