Marshall Co. Jail shakedown yields drugs, handmade knives, dozens of cell phones

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Drugs, knives, and more than 30 cell phones were all found during a shakedown at the Marshall County Jail. The contraband filled six long tables but the new sheriff says it will be the last time. 

Sheriff Phil Sims says new procedures and more staff will keep this large number of items out of inmates’ hands. He calls this jail sweep a fresh starting point.

The shakedown also turned up meth, heroin, handmade knives, and an electric drill. The jail houses just under 300 inmates and Sims says random shakedowns and checks will happen more often. Inmate privileges have been suspended.

“The reason we did that was several reasons,” Sims said. “One, for inmate compliance. It’s a privilege. We’re running a jail we’re not running a Holiday Inn.”

Sims says inmate compliance is good now that the department has taken items like a wire-looking cross made out of trash bags that could be used as a noose and a ball made out of hardened toothpaste. There were even two handmade, battery-powered tattoo machines made with pens, needles, and candy wrappers.

Sims says they’re almost fully staffed, with only two unfilled positions for correctional officers. They also have new policies.

“Trustees no longer move freely,” he said, meaning they must have escorts. “We’ve instituted policies on what can go up with employees, what can’t go up with employees. Are you always gonna keep stuff out? No, but you can put policies in place to minimize it the best that we can and that’s what we’re doing.”

The department also cleaned the jail and made repairs such as to exposed electrical wires, damage the sheriff says was caused by inmates.

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