Lowndes County anticipates new jail equipment

Published 4:57 pm Sunday, July 30, 2023

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The John Hulett Detention Facility in Hayneville has been approved by the county commission to receive some much needed new security equipment, for its central control system, which includes monitors, cameras, doors, locks, main gates, and high access areas. According to Sheriff Chris West, American Detention Services out of Decatur won the bid to complete the project. American Detention Services will replace the existing control system and control relays in the control room and electrical room.

West explained that the current system, provided by Montgomery Technology, Inc. (MTI) has never worked properly, since its installation more than three years ago. “

We got this new system around the same time we lost ‘Big John,’ and it just hasn’t worked for us. The intercoms don’t work sufficiently, and that’s a big problem,” he said.

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Corrections Officer Antory Poole, said she is looking forward to the new upgrades. 

“It will be very helpful for us,” Poole said. “Currently, the intercom freezes up often, and we can’t hear the inmates, or they can’t hear us, which is an ongoing issue.”

Chief Deputy Reginald McKitt expressed his disappointment in the current faulty system. 

“While we know that nothing will last forever, the current system has never served us efficiently, and we are past due for a new security system,” McKitt said. “We are looking forward to new security cameras as well, because the ones we have currently, allow too many blind spots.”

The 20 year old detention facility has the capability of housing up to 140 inmates, and currently has 31 in house. According to West, the facility is also housing inmates from surrounding areas, particularly from Dallas County, after their facility received significant damage after the January tornado that ripped through Selma. 

“Though these technical issues are a nuisance, my staff and I are working together effectively, to maintain a secure and safe facility,” West said.

Corrections Officer Nathaniel McCall works inside the central control room, where he monitors the entire facility, and wrestles with the notorious intercom. 

“The new equipment will allow us to meet the needs of the inmates better. It will allow all of us to be more productive,” he said.

According to the Lowndes County Commission office, the approved bid amount totaled $273,125.00. The project total includes all materials, field labor, travel, per diems, misc. supplies, tools, equipment, shipping and handling taxes, along with on-site training of staff, and a one year warranty on all new materials installed.

Contractor Lee Dennis with American Detention Services said he is very excited about completing this project for Lowndes County. 

“We are developing a good working relationship, and after we get supplies ordered, the new security system should be installed after the first of the year,” Dennis said.