Warden: Jefferson County Jail Better Than Anticipated

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) — The Jefferson County Jail is up and running and Warden Tom Elbel is pleased.

“It’s better than I anticipated,” Elbel said. “Sometimes the staff doesn’t like change, but they are going with it pretty well.”

Deputy Warden Dustin Myers said inmate morale is up as well.

“There is more open space, more natural light. There are more programs for them, and that’s good,” Myers said.

Elbel said that Phase II has begun with the demolition of the old structures being done.

“They are pouring the footers now,” Elbel said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Carl Gotwald had a request dealing with the visitation program at the Jail.

“I’d like the Board to take a look at the visitation program. I feel that those who have completed their sentences and are no longer on probation should be able to visit current inmates.

“I don’t think you should be punished indefinitely,” Gotwald said.

Elbel said visitation requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.

“Those on probation can not visit current inmates,” Elbel said. “There is a list of criteria we go through before we determine who can visit. I’d say 50-60 percent are granted permission.”

Gotwald also pointed out that the visits aren’t hand-to-hand, meaning they are controlled.

“All they do is talk to each other on the phone and see each other through a window,” Gotwald said.

Gotwald said he sometimes gets questioned by people he has dealt with in the past, typically former inmates, about why they can’t see family members

Elbel said he would take a look at the policy.

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