Macon County Jail looking to improve healthcare conditions
An assessment from consultants hired by Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett revealed multiple healthcare problems with the Macon County Jail.
Buffett wanted to see if there were any areas in the jail that needed improvements.
Some of the problems included not enough doctors on call, inadequate medical screenings for new inmates, as well as no training for new employees.
Once the expert assessment came back, it showed what work the jail had in front of them.
As these were problems the jail could not ignore.
"We had some outside consultants come in and evaluate all of our processes and some of the things they identified included a lack of training in some certain areas and they recommended that we increase the practitioner hours on site," Superintendent of Macon County Jail Kristopher Thompson said.
Sheriff Howard Buffett has offered to donate more than $1 million to help with the improvements.
The donation must still be approved by the Macon County Board, who meets Thursday night.
That donation of nearly $1.3 million is looking to help upgrade the jail in more ways than just healthcare. Healthcare, as well as technological upgrades, are what some say is a long time coming.
"This Sheriff sought out to identify any shortcomings or any improvements we could make," Thompson said.
As of now, the jail has been able to fix most of the recommendations.
"We have remedied most and those we haven't we are still working towards to make sure we get them all taken care of," Thompson said.
Other jails also agree healthcare needs to be prioritized.
When we checked in with the Sangamon County Jail to see if they were having any similar problems, they said the past year has been a big step forward for both their healthcare as well as their mental healthcare.
"We went to 24-hour nursing last year and we just went to a full-time mental health clinician so those are two things that are big that will help greatly," Assistant Superintendent for the Sangamon County Jail Terry Durr said.
However, the Macon County Jail wants people to know these upgrades are happening because the money is going to be allocated.
"We obviously didn't know about [this] for years. We've been running the jail pretty effectively for years and years and we are just making improvements that we otherwise wouldn't have had an opportunity to make," Thompson said.
Money that will go to giving inmates a chance at a better life.