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First Look at Better, Safer Dale County Jail

The Dale County Jail has undergone some major internal renovations, after last month’s inmate riot to ensure that jail guards are kept safe while in charge of those incarcerated there.

News 4 was allowed in the jail for the first time since the riot, to take a look at what's new inside.

There haven't been any major structural changes, no walls knocked down or new cell blocks erected, but there have been some very simple changes that promise to keep inmates in line.

Inside, jail officials are still fixing the damage left behind after last month's inmate riot that left three guards injured, one of them seriously wounded

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said, "These steel plates replaced the glass that was broken. They used a more ringer and ripped off the handle of a mop bucket to actually bust out the glass."

Along with the renovating damaged portions of the jail, there are also some modifications being made to give jailers an added level of protection when dealing with inmates.

"We've actually taken off all of the hooks out of every cell that were used to hang towels and cloths," said Sheriff Olson. "We've taken out all of the vents that can be utilized as a weapon or made into a weapon. Any beds that were loses or broken, we've taken these out as well, because one of the things that was used as a weapon before was a piece of bed rail."

Other make-shift weapons include the handles of toothbrushes, which jail guards say have been filed and turned into "shanks" that can be used to stab someone.

The ability to turn ordinary objects into weapons have forced Sheriff Wally Olson to prohibit the use of certain items inside the jail, like batteries and walkmans.

"They're taking the batteries and utilizing them by putting them in socks and using it as a weapon. They're also making tattoo guns out of walkman radios," said Sheriff Olson.

With these new rules and internal modifications, Sheriff Olson hopes to make a more secure jail for inmates and a safer work environment for jail guards.

In addition to these new changes, each jail guard has been trained to use tasers, and sheriff's deputies are working on training each corrections officer a series of self-defense techniques that they can use in the event that another riot were to break out.

However, they're hoping the new changes will make it difficult for that to happen.

A self-defense training course for jail guards will be held on July 9th.


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