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Local

County jail shows positive results in PREA audit, state inspection

Halferty commends jail staff

Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty speaks with the board of supervisors during its weekly meeting Tuesday morning. Before moving toward an action item, Halferty took the time to commend his staff at the Jasper County Jail for passing its inspection “with flying colors” and for its compliance to a federal mandate, despite a rigorous work schedule with inmates from Jasper, Warren and Polk Counties.
Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty speaks with the board of supervisors during its weekly meeting Tuesday morning. Before moving toward an action item, Halferty took the time to commend his staff at the Jasper County Jail for passing its inspection “with flying colors” and for its compliance to a federal mandate, despite a rigorous work schedule with inmates from Jasper, Warren and Polk Counties.

Not every staff member from the Jasper County Jail could attend the board of supervisors meeting Tuesday morning, but Sheriff John Halferty was still compelled to recognize his team following high marks on a state inspection and the jail’s compliance with a federal mandate.

Typically, Jasper County Jail facilities consistently receive good reviews during its annual inspection by the Iowa Department of Corrections, and this instance was no different. Halferty said the jail, which was inspected Nov. 27, “passed with flying colors” and received positive comments regarding the cleanliness of the facilities and the efficiency of staff members’ work.

“They work hard and they do a great job,” Halferty told the supervisors.

A cover letter to Jasper County Supervisor Chairman Doug Cupples from Delbert Longley, chief jail inspector of the Iowa Department of Corrections, confirms Halferty’s claims, stating the “Jasper County Jail is a clean, well-maintained and well-managed facility.”

The November inspection holds more significance because of the jail’s current inmate numbers. Jasper County Jail is holding inmates for Warren and Polk Counties, in addition to tending to its regular local population.

The inspection itself “included an examination of staff training records, required documentation, prisoner files, jail policy and procedures and a tour of the jail.” The letter also noted major improvements at the jail, including the construction of a new jail pod, a collaboration with Consolidated Foodservice for prisoner meals and the addition of a new camera system.

Halferty also reported the results of a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) audit at the Jasper County Jail on Tuesday. According to the National PREA Resource Center website, the mandate was passed in 2003 to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in federal, state and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.”

At the Jasper County Jail, PREA acts as an additional protection for not only the inmates serving time but for the county as well, providing education to staff, vendors, rehabilitation resources and the jail population. Halferty said all are trained on understanding, recognizing and reporting any kind of sexual assault. Unfortunately, he said, assaults of this kind can and do happen in a jail setting.

Confinement facilities covered under PREA standards are required to be audited “at least once during every three-year audit cycle to be considered compliant.” Halferty said the audit was conducted upon the jail’s request in spring 2018.

“As expected, they found numerous deficiencies, which they normally do,” Halferty said. “We were then given about six months to complete or implement the changes, so we would not have any deficiencies … In a nutshell, we are now PREA compliant. I’m proud on behalf of our staff.”

In other action Tuesday, the board of supervisors:

• Set a public hearing date for a five-year Home Wav contract for an updated prison system. Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott reminded the board could only approve a three-year contract without a public hearing. A hearing for the five-year contract was set for Jan. 2, 2019.

• Allowed the purchase of a new plotter printer primarily used to print maps. County Network Administrator Ryan Eaton presented the action to the board before asking for a closed session to discuss the IT Director/Salary Range item on the agenda.

• Approved a hiring resolution for Elderly Nutrition, which Human Resources Director Dennis Simon said would mean the department is at full capacity. The board also approved a new position resolution for Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. An existing position would be restructured into assistant chief jailer position.

• Approved a second “shared employee” position, which will work for both the environmental health and community development departments.

• Set another public hearing date for a budget amendment for fiscal year 2018-19, as a well as three public hearing dates for a road vacation.

• Approved liquor licenses for Westwood Golf Course and Izaak Walton League.

• Voted to approve upon getting a survey and abstract finished for the property at 115 W. Second St., which had been sold to Goldfinch Growth a few months ago.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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