June 27, 2006

Escamabia County Sheriff Ronnie McNesby took his licks last night at Zion Hope Primitive Baptist Church from an angry crowd of 150. Finally- 10 months after Robert Boggan’s death, Ronnie Mac met with the public in an open forum to discuss the jail deaths.

The press releases, closed press conferences with selected reporters and safety meetings w/commissioners haven’t done the trick of abating public discontent. It wasn’t enough to cry lack of funds or labeling it a national problem.

Here’s the Sheriff’s plan:

  • Double the duty time for a psychiatrist from 20 to 40 hours. Makes you wonder the psychiatrist has been spending his 20 hr shift.
  • A crisis intervention team to respond to jail incidents at all times and remove combative inmates if needed
  • Upper jail management must approve the use of a restraint chair for a maximum of one hour at a time. Remember Boggan was in chair for more than 50 hours over 11 days. When we questioned the chair use, the official statement was it was okay to use up to 4 consecutive hours.
  • Building a padded cell. Looks like money is no longer an issue (excuse?)

Sheriff admited the jail is overpopulated by about 300 inmates, and 42 corrections officer positions are unfilled.

He failed to mention that he and the county have underfunded the jail the past 5 years – less that 3% increases annually(below the CPI).


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