HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Jail and prison systems all around the nation are facing overcrowding of inmates and the Houston County Jail is no exception.
Before the pandemic, jails and prisons operated at full capacity but now facilities are holding more inmates than they were designed to.
“We’re dealing with overcapacity a large amount over,” Sheriff Donald Valenza said. “Unless we get some help, we’re fixing to shut down what we call our courtroom.”
Along with local inmates, the Houston County Jail is also housing state inmates. The jail is designed to hold 389 inmates but currently it’s at 458. 118 of those inmates are with the state.
“So far this year the state of Alabama has taken 11 state inmates,” Valenza said.
Overcrowding has played a role in increased violence inside the jail. Recently a violent incident happened between a state inmate and officer.
“He went to bring him a mattress when the officer handed him the mattress the inmate attacked the officer,” Valenza said.
Jail commander James Brazier said these issues are taking a toll on staff members.
“You know it’s not only stressing us out but it’s stressing the inmates out too,” Brazeier said.
A corrections meeting with officials is scheduled to be held sometime next week in Eufaula.
“It would give us hope that they’re trying to do something for us and help us, right now I don’t feel like they’re helping us,” Valenza said.
WDHN will keep you updated on the latest developments.