Jail makes changes

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 1, 2008

WINDSOR – While the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office continues the search for Danyashi Wood, Bertie-Martin Regional Jail is making changes to long-standing policy.

“Within the hour, we looked at our departmental policies,” Jail Administrator Craig Friedman said. “We looked at things we have been doing for years without any negative consequences.”

Freidman was referencing Wednesday afternoon’s escape of Wood from its facility.

Wood is still at large and being sought by the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office. (See related story this page.)

The Jail Administrator said two changes came from the study of policy.

The first one made, according to Friedman, is that inmates who have been convicted in court and remanded to the North Carolina Department of Corrections would no longer be able to take recreation with the general population.

The other change is a response to the current over-population at Bertie-Martin Regional Jail. Friedman said as of Friday morning, the 90-bed facility has 154 inmates.

“We do it the best we way we can,” Friedman said when asked how the facility maintained that much over-crowding.

“Over-population exacerbated the problem and made it possible because we had two officers trying to supervise 30 inmates,” he said. “We have now implemented a new policy whereby officers could no longer take out the full population in any block.”

Now, he said, the officers will only be allowed to take 50 percent of any block, minus those who have been convicted, to recreation at one time.

“It will make it a more manageable population as far as numbers when we have two officers,” he said.

The Bertie-Martin Regional Jail has 27 employees, 24 of which are front-line officers.

Despite the changes, Friedman said his department regretted the situation.

“We deeply regret this recent situation,” he said. “We will continue to learn from our mistakes and strive to do our jobs better.”

The escape is only the second in the six years Friedman has been running the jail.