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Sheriff sends 40 deputies to clean up privately-run jail after increase in drug trafficking

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A privately-run Indiana jail in Marion County is under fire after the Sheriff ordered 40 deputies to conduct a 5-hour shakedown, a result of the jail’s growing drug problem.

With the original shakedown taking place last Friday night, deputies since returned twice over the weekend after drugs and a cell phone was discovered.

During one of the searches, one inmate died- ingesting a balloon full of heroin to hide the evidence.

“We don’t know all the answers, but we don’t put up with this trafficking stuff,” said Sheriff John Layton. “We have a problem and it’s obvious that there is a problem at CCA that needs to be addressed. We got on it immediately and we’re keeping the pressure on. We’re going to charge somebody hopefully.”

Layton said that the overdose of inmate 27-year-old Nicholas Grant was little more than “an unfortunate deal directly connected to the fact that we were hitting the place at the time.”

Gabe Frost, a US military veteran who worked at the jail and later resigned said that he felt safer in Iraq than in the jail.

“I know the inmates have a way of cutting holes in the windows,” said Gabe Frost. “You can easily get a firearm through there. While I was there, there was drugs coming in through the window.”

Ever-so short on staff, Frost said some of the temporary relief guards had snuck items into the jail.

“While I was there we had staff coming in from other facilities to assist,” he said. “I know that drugs were snuck in then. Once the warden found out, those employees were immediately dismissed. They were sent back to their normal facility for terminations.”

Frost said he felt vastly outnumbered during his stint there with the private prison contract company, Corrections Corporation of America, who as of July were limited to one guard per 5.3 inmates.

“I would believe 150 to one during my time at CCA,” he said, “but not five to one.”

Overdoses aren’t that uncommon at the jail, with the father of one deceased inmate saying his son reported a free-flow of drugs through the facility.

Joseph Armanno, who said another offender called him eight days ago to explain that his son had overdosed, told FOX59 that his son claimed “there are more drugs in there than on the streets” and that “you can buy a cell phone for $300.”

Armanno went on to say the jail never notified him about his son’s condition and that an inmate ended up informing him.

“I would think I would have some kind of right to know what his condition is and it’s just like they’re trying to cover it up,” he said. “It’s like an unbelievable movie that you see on TV that you couldn’t believe except this ain’t a movie.”

Marion County contracts with CCA at a cost of nearly $10 million a year to operate the jail in what has been a ten year deal that expires at the end of 2017.

 

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