By Rick Hiduk
At the Dec. 3 meeting of the Wyoming County Prison Board, Warden Ken Repsher told board members that the boiler that was installed at the prison in 1986 is showing signs of wear relative to its age.
“We haven’t gotten to the point where we don’t have heat,” Repsher stated, but he is concerned that a potential breakdown of the equipment during winter months could be a serious matter.
“A boiler going down in December is not good,” Chief Clerk Bill Gaylord agreed.
“We’d better get on that right away,” said County Commissioner Ron Williams.
Repsher related that the most frequent problem with the current system is that the filters are routinely clogged.
Gaylord suggested that there might be grant money available to at least match the county’s potential contribution for a new boiler, which was welcome news to Repsher, who noted that he had already budgeted for replacement of water heaters at the prison next year and also hoped to upgrade the facility’s camera system.
On the topic of the facility’s medical needs, Repsher reported that Lech’s Pharmacy had recently donated a wheelchair for use at the jail.
He also shared a cost analysis between taking prisoners in need of xrays to the hospital and having a mobile xray unit brought into the prison. “It’s cheaper to take them out, but is transporting them the safest thing to do?” Repsher asked.
Commissioner Tom Henry suggested that such situations be handled on a per inmate basis, weighing the relative risk per person.
Commissioner Judy Mead agreed that maintaining contact with a mobile x-ray unit provider would also be a good idea.
There are currently 56 males and seven female inmates at the facility after 36 were released last month and only 31 new intakes recorded. There is currently only one prisoner boarded outside the county.
Visitors to the Wyoming County Prison in October included 25 representatives of religious organizations, 15 from the probation department, 13 drug and alcohol counselors from A Better Today and 10 A.A. representatives, as well as 10 mental health counselors who saw approximately three inmates per visit.
Henry noted that bids are still being taken for the new transport vehicle discussed at the November meeting. (see http://endlessmtnlifestyles.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/prison-board-reports-progress-in-several-areas/)