Updates to Swisher County Jail keeps it from shutting down - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Updates to Swisher County Jail keeps it from shutting down

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Back in June, the Swisher County Jail was in jeopardy of being shut down by the state, because it didn't meet the standards set in place by the Texas Minimum Jail Standards Board.

Now just 7 months later, the Swisher County Jail has been able to make the necessary changes to bring the facility back up to code.

It's been a process for Sheriff Burnie Wells, one that started 4 months ago when he was hired in September. "One of the things that was my requirement was to see if we could fix the jail with the issues that the Jail Standards had identified," Wells told us.

With a long list of things that needed to be changed, he hit the ground running. "We have adjusted our staffing, we have increased the training of our jail staff, we have changed the way we do business from the food service side of the house. We've increased the security of the office, our jail," he explained.

Other changes included updating kitchen ventilation, reviewing emergency and escape plans, and hiring more corrections officers, all of which have come in under the $800,000 dollar budget.

Now, with a certificate in hand, the Swisher County Jail is considered up to state standards, something the Assistant Manager at the grocery store across the street, thinks is a positive for the whole community, and his business. "The safer you feel, the better you feel, so people will spend their money here if they are feeling safe in town," Robert Finch said.

Finch is also a father of three, making safety even more important to this dad. "You're always worried about what's happening, new people coming into town, but if they can take care of what they need to take care of over there, making any improvements would be great for our town," he added.

The Sheriff also points out having the jail stay open will save the county thousands of dollars rather than having to ship inmates to other facilities.

Colleen Nelson - NewsChannel 10

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