Angelina County jailers face countless risks

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE)- It's a rough job, but someone has to do it.

"You walk in here, always expecting the unexpected. Every time, because you will be surprised every day almost," said Sgt. Stephen Netherton.

Corrections officers working in the Angelina County Jail have to be ready for anything.

"When you get complacent and you let the inmates start more or less dictating what you're going to do and then you start falling into their little games," said Lt. Eulalia Blair.

Right now in the county, 250 inmates are locked up. That's lower than usual, but it doesn't lessen corrections officers' concerns, from inmates smuggling tobacco, rigging dangerous weapons, and turning aggressive.

"Stuff that's located here in the jail like our mop buckets come in with the metal handles and stuff. A lot of times they do take those apart and they'll make metal shanks out of them," said Blair.

"Most recently a gentleman hit his head up against the glass and broke the glass in our holding cell," said Netherton.

Even after the inmates are searched, they can quickly turn violent.

"A year ago, I did get my nose broke," said Blair.

Many inmates are booked in, high on drugs or alcohol, making the situation unpredictable.

"From one minute to the next they can just change from being passive to combative," explained Blair.

Jailers say, another issue involves inmates trafficking their own medication.

"After they look like they've swallowed it and they go and spit it out and then they'll trade it to other inmates," said Netherton.

Trained to expect the unexpected, the officers have their work cut out for them.

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