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Protest outside of Bibb County jail calls for changes

Protest outside of the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center Monday called for improving jail conditions. Here's what protesters and the sheriff's office have to say:

MACON, Ga. — Outside the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center on Monday, a group of women came out Monday to protest conditions in the jail. 

According to family members, there have been reports of stabbings, unsafe living conditions and improper hygiene over the last few months. 

"Even though you're locked up, you should still be treated like a human being and not an animal," protester Gabrielle Barry, who has a relative in the jail, said. 

They say many of them are worried about the safety of family members.

"Like, some of the intercoms, they don't work on the block," Berry said. "So if someone gets hurt, they can't call for anyone."

She says that she hopes that the jail gets everything under control.

"I'm just hoping that they're able to get everything together," Berry said.

In a statement 13WMAZ, Bibb County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Eric Woodford said that some of the issues that were mentioned were the result of disciplinary infractions by inmates.

"Due to numerous safety violations by inmates, the jail was placed on disciplinary restrictions. Restrictions were no Commissary Store, lockdown in their cells, and modified meals of Nutrition Loaves for breakfast, lunch, and dinner," Woodford said. "This is not the entire jail population, only the inmates involved in the disciplinary actions."

Woodford did not respond directly to the accusation about the intercoms, but he did outline the measures taken by the jail in a four-part statement addressing living conditions, food, lockdown and maintenance issues. 

Before any shift change, Woodford said that they utilize "run-around Inmates" who help clean the jail and take out the trash every 12 hours.

He also said that they have a contract with pest control which conducts exterminations every month. Woodford also said that a deputy escorts the exterminator "through the entire jail" to exterminate rats and roaches. 

However, he notes that some inmates have made keeping the jail clean quite difficult.

"It's extremely unfortunate that offenders will daily throw food, feces, and urine not only on the floors and walls, but on the deputies, and nurses," Woodford said. "It's hard to maintain cleanliness and control of pests in the jail when the offenders (inmates) for whatever reason, continue to combat our efforts."  

Woodford also says that some blocks have been put on lockdown because inmates "were throwing urine and feces on the deputies" conducting block checks, using shanks, setting fires, destroying lights to make shanks and causing "interior destruction to the facility." 

According to Woodford, this has caused the jail to take additional disciplinary measures to keep things under control.

"Basically, this has caused the entire jail facility to go in a disciplinary mode. Imposing a lockdown on designated blocks was mandatory," Woodford said. "Since the lockdown, these incidents are beginning to decrease."

Some inmates are also being served Nutraloaves, Woodford said. The loaves are often used as a punishment and inmates are fed the loaf for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Woodford says this is only for inmates who are involved in disciplinary actions. 

He says the Georgia Department of Public Health has given the Law Enforcement Center a 100 on its health inspection score. 

He also said they are regularly snaking and repairing plumbing because of inmates flushing various items down the toilet and shower drains. 

They say that "disciplinary restrictions" were implemented because of "the disruptive behavior of inmates," and those restrictions will stay in place until those issues are resolved. 

Protesters outside of the jail say that it is often difficult to get information about the well-being of their family members inside the jail. Woodford did not provide any comments related to those concerns. 

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