Jail carpets not being replaced

Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting

Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said he had a solution for the carpet that was in disrepair at the Essex County Jail.

“My suggestion would be that we use our own forces get the carpeting out of the jails and paint the concrete,” he said.

Scozzafava was one of several supervisors critical of a planned resolution offered by Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting during the Feb. 11 Public Safety Committee meeting to use up to $10,000 to replace carpeting in one of the three cell blocks at the county jail. The resolution did not make it to the floor for a vote.

“These are inmates we are talking about. Why don’t we just pull up the carpet and paint the concrete under it,” Scozzafava said. “I will never vote to replace carpets in the jail.”

Cutting said that the new carpeting was needed because the current flooring, which was installed when the facility was built, was in desperate need of repair. He also stated that the carpeting was needed for safety reasons.

“I am not saying that we want to create a Hilton-like atmosphere,” Cutting said. “It’s not for cosmetic reasons; it is for sound-dampening reasons.”

Cutting said that he wanted to use boarding revenues for the repairs. Committee Chairman Randy Preston asked if the department had made their 2012 revenue estimate.

“We did meet what I anticipated what we would meet but not the revenue that we were asked to try and meet,” Cutting said. “We are ahead for the month of January. We have a $25-30 million building and I feel that it is in our best interest to keep it up to the best of our ability.”

“My concern is that you are taking money out of something that we do not know if you are going to reach,” Preston said. “Right now, I am not in favor of it. I was a corrections officer for 10 years and the only place that I saw carpet was in the federal prisons and here.”

After no motion was made to bring the resolution to a vote, Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said he wanted to know what the committee wanted from the Sheriff.

“You are in an no-win situation,” Morrow said. “When your revenues are up, you get criticized. Now that you are not making, you are still getting criticized.”

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