Female Clark County inmates moved after bathroom complaints

Women inmates at the Clark County Jail have been moved after complaints they had too little access to bathrooms.

The women were housed in trailers in the basement of the jail because of a lack of cell space. Inmates sometimes had to wait over an hour to use the bathroom. Now the women have been moved inside where they have 24 hour access to a bathroom in their cell, Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said.

Women had to wait to use the bathroom in the previous arrangement because there is one bathroom trailer that has four toilets.

Units of inmates would be released to go to the bathroom together at a certain time, said Lt. Michael Young, who oversees the operations at the jail for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

“It seems to be a good decision right now,” Kelly said.

To make room for the women, he said, men from one floor of the jail were moved into the trailers.

“Everything I’ve heard is they enjoy being downstairs because they have outdoor recreation,” he said.

Medical concerns also influenced Kelly’s decision to move the women, he said.

“We’ve had the largest number of pregnant inmates ever in our history,” he said. “So having them closer to our medical staff is another important reason in my decision.”

There are currently 43 women in the Clark County Jail, Kelly said, and about 40 men were moved to make room for them.

The women will each have their own cell now, he said, which could avoid problems with fights.

“They could never get away from people they don’t want to be around,” he said.

The trailer units have been in place since 2003 for the women because the main jail, which was originally built to house 174 inmates, cannot fit all the women plus the more than 150 men it averages every day.

“We’re not going to build a new jail,” Kelly said. “So we’re going to make this one do.”

Adding enough space to the jail to provide 60 beds would otherwise cost between $2 million and $5 million, according to past reports from the sheriff’s office.

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