According to Holder, having a total of five church services per week is making a difference. “I think that it’s helped. So far it’s working,” said Holder. He explains male and female inmates have separate services. Two services are held Tuesday, two services are held Thursday and the female service is held on Tuesday evening.
According to Holder, with the increased number of inmates in the detention center, the area’s drug problem and recent suicides, about four months ago several churches requested a meeting with Holder and Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse to discuss ways the churches could help. From that meeting, about 10 local churches made the decision come together to provide a meal to the inmates once or twice a month starting in March.
Holder said because of health department regulations the churches cannot prepare a meal and bring it to the detention center. However, the churches are able to purchase pizzas or burgers and serve that to the inmates.
Commission Chair Jayson Farmer asked about the safety of church members coming into the detention center. Holder said the church members would serve the meal to the inmates at the jail cell door. He said detention center staff would always be on hand during the church group visits and only a few cells at a time would be opened. He also said inmates would be told in advance about the visits.
Holder says having one or two meals bought by local churches may also help ease the detention center’s food bill, but he said that is not the main intent. He says more importantly the church members can visit with and minister to the inmates and ask if the church members can do anything for the inmates’ family. Holder says there is another meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21 and at some point after that meeting the church meal program will begin.
Holder also explained to the board a couple of weeks ago during the heavy rain and high winds, the wind apparently had lifted up a portion of the metal roof on the detention center. There was also some old damage underneath. According to Holder American Roofing would be able to make the repairs.
He also brought the commissioners a list of how much the sheriff’s department has brought into the county from housing out of county inmates for the month of January the total was $14,000.
Farmer said he had spoken to Jail Administrator John Koneman, who had indicated the sheriff’s department would be getting a discounted rate on the department’s food purchases, which would help the department save some money. Holder also pointed out Koneman is continuing to use coupons and has been able to save $1200 by using coupons.
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