MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — When Ruben Marté took over as sheriff at the beginning of the year he did a walkthrough of the jail facility with his senior staff and found inmates and staff living and working in deplorable conditions.
“It was inhumane what we saw,” Sheriff Marté said.
Jail commander Kyle Gibbons was part of that walkthrough and said what they saw was nowhere near as bad as what they smelled.
“The smell alone…you can’t even put into words some of it,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons documented the conditions in a holding cell where multiple inmates were sleeping on the bare floor. Some were without shoes or socks and one inmate could be seen using a Styrofoam cup as a pillow.
But the worst part of, Gibbons said, was that they were sleeping within feet of their own urine.
“The toilet was not operational so they had to utilize a grate in the floor,” Gibbons said.
As they continued their walkthrough they found filthy conditions just about everywhere. Gibbons said the floors were coated with dirt. They also found mold, trash, clogged toilets and a mysterious green substance oozing out an air vent.
“The green substance, I have no idea what that was,” Gibbons admitted.
Sheriff Marté took CBS 4 on a tour of the facility where we saw some of the conditions first-hand. Several ceilings are leaking water including right next to a high-voltage power box.
Chief Deputy Phil Parker said if you’re not careful you can feel drops on your head as you walk the halls and pointed out one of those areas to us.
“That’s where our inmate workers are housed and that is coming somewhere from their shower and toilet area,” Parker said.
Parker said they simply don’t know where to begin.
“What do you do first,” Parker questioned. “Do you do the ceilings, the floors, the walls? Where do you start?”
The sheriff said the work to address these issues is already underway. His staff spent countless hours scraping the dirt of the floors with putty knives. However, he admits getting the facility back up to speed is going to take a lot of time and money.
“We will need support and so far the feedback has been that they will provide support,” Sheriff Marté said.
Marté went before a county committee earlier this week to notify them of the issues and to let them know to expect his request for funds. He commended his staff that has been cleaning up and repairing some of the immediate concerns.
As for questions about how the facility it got this bad, he said that’s not his concern.
“I am not going to point fingers,” Marté said. “I’m just not going to go down that path, but what I can tell you is I’m here now and we’re working to get it fixed.”
The sheriff said the building is outdate and there are plans in works for a new jail in the coming years. However, Marté said these issues need addressed immediately and in the meantime they have to work with what they have.
You can find a gallery of the pictures released by the sheriff’s office here: