LAGRANGE, Ga. — Troup County Jail staff always expect the unexpected. They are learning and applying valuable lessons away from home to help them take care of more than 450 inmates.
“You never know what’s going to come in the doors here when it comes off the street,” jail administrator Capt. Marty Reeves said. “To be in this career field, you have to be not willing to get it on you, but you know it’s coming. When you’re working in a jail, it’s going to happen one day.”
Reeves and other jail staff deal with unpredictable inmates and other wildcards on a daily basis. He says despite recent jail expansion, the jail must constantly adjust to housing more inmates.
“The facility itself is not large enough to house everybody individually,” Reeves said. “So that’s one of the scary things for myself and the detention officers that work here.”
With 450 inmates, staff must deal with 450 different personalities and 450 unique challenges. Learning how to address those challenges sometimes has to come from outside the walls of the jail. Reeves recently returned from the Georgia Jail Association Conference in Jekyll Island. Law enforcement discussed use of force, ethics, and gang recognition among other topics. Reeves says the conference also addressed treating inmates with mental health problems.
“Mental health is a big issue in every jail,” Reeves explained. “We all talked about it in conference. It’s one of those things, you really have to take care of folks.”
Reeves calls training the backbone of a jail. He says it’s the jail’s job to use best practices like classifying inmates.
“They don’t have family,” Reeves said. “We become their family. A lot of them we have here are repeat offenders or recidivists. We try to take care of them as best we can with the resources we have.”
Capt. Reeves wants to create classes based on information he learned at the jail conference. The sheriff’s office will also bring in outside instructors and experts to teach deputies how to best handle inmates.