sheriff's office

As of Friday, 21 inmates at the Faulkner County Detention Center had tested positive for COVID-19.

Twenty-one inmates at the Faulkner County Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19.

County officials moved to have all inmates and detention center employees tested for the novel coronavirus earlier this week after a group of nine men had tested positive.

Testing began after an inmate in the booking facility “exhibited symptoms of the virus last week,” county attorney Phil Murphy said.

After officials found out the inmate was COVID-19 positive, everyone who came into contact before he was isolated was also tested.

“The inmate was isolated and placed in a negative pressure cell and tested. Upon notice of the inmate’s positive test result, other inmates who were in contact with the infected inmate were also tested,” Murphy told the Log Cabin Democrat, adding that eight additional inmates tested positive for the coronavirus at this time. “The infected inmates are currently being sequestered in a separate segment of the detention center.”

Along with moving COVID-19-positive inmates to a separate portion of the jail, all other inmates within the general population were given face masks.

After the group of nine tested positive for COVID-19, Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office administrators moved to have all inmates and detention center staff tested.

As of Friday afternoon, a total of 21 (18 men and three women) had tested positive.

Another FCSO employee has also tested positive for the coronavirus. However, the county attorney said that employee did not come into contact with anyone at the jail and none of the other employees he came into contact with tested positive either.

“Both the employee and the Department of Health notified us of the positive test result. We, in turn, promptly notified any and all county employees who may have had a defined contact with the infected employee,” Murphy said. “Each of the possible contacts employed by Faulkner County who were tested received a negative test result.”

The county attorney said jail administrators would continue monitoring the situation and that they are working closely with Arkansas Department of Health officials for further guidance.

FCSO spokesman Erinn Stone said the jail staff is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent further spreading COVID-19 within FCDC.

“The positive cases have all been separated, [and] we are following the guidelines put in place by the CDC,” she said. “We have been in contact with our doctors and attorneys to make sure we are doing everything by the CDC guidelines.”

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, Murphy said that the FCSO has issued a number of protocols at both FCDC units including:

  • An “enhanced” sanitation schedule that involves a thorough cleaning for all jail cells and communal areas.
  • Conducting health screenings upon booking and also quarantining inmates in a booking facility for 14 days before the alleged offender is moved to a new cell in the general population. In addition to these procedures, Murphy said the sheriff’s office began using “step-down” facilities that “allow for an additional intermediary step between the booking cells and the transfer to the general inmate population.”
  • All detention center employees that come into contact with COVID-19 positive inmates are required to wear N-95 masks, and face coverings are also utilized by all other detention center staff.
  • The sheriff’s office has modified the ventilation system in its booking cells to feature a negative pressure system.
  • In-person visitation is temporarily suspended.

Jail administrators have also worked to keep the inmate population down.

Cpt. Chris Riedmueller told the Log Cabin in May that inmate populations within the FCDC in April were at a 10-year low.

Though numbers were up from May, recently released statistics show that fewer people were detained in the Faulkner County jail in June from April’s numbers.

In June, there was an average of 87 inmates at Unit I, which is the county’s maximum security facility. Unit I has the capacity to hold 118 inmates and in recent years has struggled with overcrowding.

Officials said there was an average of 34 men and 37 women housed at Unit II last month. Unit II is able to hold 218 men and 88 women altogether.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net

(1) comment

DJTFNE

The info in this article is BS!! Faulkner County jail staff and their lawyers are LYING!!! It is my boyfriend who they're referring to as the first to exhibit symptoms of the virus and he had been detained within the Faulkner County Jail system for seven days before exhibiting any symptoms at all. He was virus free before they took over the responsibility of his care. I can confirm that he did not have the virus prior to being exposed to it in that jail because I personally got tested and had negative results!! I've been tested 3 times since May. And trust me when I say that I had close, personal contact- I do mean EXTREMELY CLOSE, contact with my boyfriend prior to him going to jail that day.

I was also in verbal contact with him during his incarceration before he contracted the virus and afterwards, so I know exactly how he was treated by the Fcso detention centers jail staff.

Basically he went from court to booking and was placed in what they referred to as a “14-day quarantined holding cell". THIS IS WHERE IT ALL GOES WRONG. their so-called “quarantine “ was what is commonly referred to as the drunk tank and they must not even know the definition of quarantine because within that drunk tank my boyfriend and everyone else were then subjected to close contact with multiple individuals (all of which were untested and unscreened for the virus.) Not so much as a temperature was taken!! These individuals were both coming and going, in and out of that cell being booked in and then they were also releasing these (now potentially exposed) inmates into the general public. Just look at the inmate rosters from June 24-July 10th!! The staff offered absolutely no means of protection and zero possibility of keeping a safe social distance, because there’s no possible way to keep 6-feet distance between each inmate when there's multiple individuals in a holding cell, sharing a sink, eating together and sleeping side by side in that small of an area. The staff didn't even wear masks!

So he, along with others, was forced to exposure. Obviously no inmate was given any personal protective equipment whatsoever and....here’s where the virus comes in and the most unbelievable part, they never sanitized anything!! No cleaning was performed within that holding cell at all, not even a Clorox wipe a day on the shared phone that every single inmate uses to talk through!!! No inmate was offered any time outside of that community cesspool they created which ultimately and inevitably gave him (and no doubt others) the Covid 19 virus. THEY DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO PROTECT INMATES, STAFF, OR ULTIMATELY THE GENERAL PUBLIC when they booked in and then released unvetted inmates!! So, there was no sanitation routines in place at all within this "quarantine cell" but in addition to that, they were not even offered any hand soap or hand sanitizer! Just lukewarm water in a shared sink to both drink out of and wash their hands. The staff were not even using personal protective equipment or sanitizer themselves!

Essentially they broke every single rule, disregarded every single government-issued guidance that they were supposedly required to adhere to in order to protect their most vulnerable population that is the inmates who are being incarcerated and placed in their care with no control over their own personal health and offered no means to even possibly protect themselves from this deadly virus. Mind you knowledge of how to protect yourself and slow the spread has been readily available since mid-February!!

But now,end of June, after being exposed to this cesspool of an environment 24/7 for a week!! That's when my boyfriend began to exhibit symptoms, he was feeling bad and running 101° fever, so when he brought that to their attention- then and only then did they do anything to protect him! They took him to get tested and then they put him in an isolation room where he was cruelly subjected to 24/7 silence, he was offered no treatment for his now covid 19 confirmed illness, and given no contact with anyone, he didn't have so much as a piece of paper to write on, little to no contact with staff and just hours and hours of simply staring at the wall, they ignored his requests for phone calls and contact with his family, not even given a minute of reprieve from the punishment and cruelty of the small isolation room he was in. Ofcourse his 14-day quarantine clock had to start over before he could even be moved out of booking. When you are in booking you can receive no commissary, no email/kiosk privileges and no form of entertainment and they had already put a stop to visitations so one could lose their mind like that!

He was told he had the virus, which is terrifying news and then absolutely nothing else for 24 hours a day, he was sitting in a room staring at a wall with no contact with any individual except for 3 meals a day pushed through a tiny flap in the door, zero means of keeping his sanity and also given no real medical treatment. They didn't even check his temperature during this time. I am thankful that they had the sense enough to administer that COVID-19 test when they did but that's the only thing they did right.

So, if you’re following the story and if Im making my points clear enough then that should let you know that every single staff member that was in contact with any individual that was booked in and out of that drunk tank/holding cell/"quarantined" area was potentially exposed to the virus and then went home and commuted to and from work and probably shopped at Walmart or Kroger and possibly spread the virus throughout the Faulkner County community. Perhaps it's the staff members who possibly introduced the virus into the Faulkner County detention center to begin with? Who knows? Because it could also very well as been introduced to the jail by any inmate they booked in during that time AND RELEASED without so much as a temperature check!! I am livid. My boyfriend wasn't even sentenced to the county jail he was waiting to be transferred to ADC and if they housed an average of 38 males with a capacity of more than 200!!!!!! There should have been no excuse for not offering the very basic access to a safe social distance of just 6 feet!!!! Now he is quarantined in a cell with other 9 males who tested positive but none are able to receive their commissary yet and for how long? They just now got the health dept involved and made the public aware of the situation. So finally they placed signage up informing inmates how to protect the spread of the virus and they are just now taking temps of staff and inmates!! Still no soap for hand washing though. It's been 21 days since my boyfriends arrival and there's no telling how far this outbreak will reach!!

SHAME ON YOU FCSO for your blatant disregard for protecting the health of your community, your employees or your inmate population!!! I certainly hope the city attorney is very good at their job because if the whole truth was known, somebody would lose their job for this at minimum and so help me Lord Jesus if anyone loses their life over this...a negligent homicide charge will follow!!!!!!!!

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