New material for padded jail cells sought

·2 min read

May 18—Officials with the Howard County Jail are moving forward with installing a new material inside the facility's two padded cells that will replace the original pads put in when the jail opened.

Jail Commander Capt. Matt Deckard on Monday told the Howard County Board of Commissioners the current material is a kind of fabric pad that can easily be damaged by inmates.

He said that in the last two years, the jail spent $15,800 to repair the current padding. In the last seven years, repair costs totaled $39,000.

"It's easily ripped," Deckard said. "It's older. It's the original that the jail came with. They've improved technology since then, as you can imagine."

He said the new material would be a harder, one-piece foam padding that would be more damage resistant, although it could still require repairs.

"When you deal with inmates who are determined, it's very difficult to tell you how long it will last," Deckard said. "It's not damage proof, but it's more damage proof than what we currently have, I'll tell you that."

He said it would cost $39,100 to buy and install the new fabric, but the jail's maintenance staff would watch how the foam is put in so they can do in-house repairs if needed.

Commissioners on Monday approved the contract for the padding. The Howard County Council is set to vote on approving the financing next week during it's regular meeting.

Deckard said he believes the new material should end up saving the county money through reduced maintenance costs.

"I think we can get a better system and save the county some money in the long run," he told commissioners.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.