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In jail, no one gets special treatment



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April 29, 2014 | 01:18 PM
ELKHORN — In the Walworth County jail, no one gets special treatment, not even former police officers.

Walworth County Jail Administrator John Delaney said Friday morning that when anyone is arrested, regardless of who they are, they go through the same intake process.

“We manage everyone the same, we follow our policies and procedures,” Delaney said. “We check people’s needs and things like that. As we book people in, we have a classification system in place.”

Delaney said the objective classification system gives the jail direction on where to house inmates after the booking process is completed.

That same process was used for former Bloomfield and Genoa City Police Officer Aaron Henson, who was taken into custody after he was arrested for theft from the Genoa City Police Department, Delaney said. After his arrest, Henson spent the night in jail before he was released the next afternoon on a signature bond.

“It could be the mayor or the governor,” Delaney said. “Realistically, we work with each person, depending on what their needs are.”

Delaney compares the booking process to the admission process at a hospital. The jail asks inmates about their allergies, mental health issues, substance abuse history and medical needs.

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For example, Delaney said that if someone has diabetes, they will ask the inmate if they have their insulin with them. If the inmate doesn’t, the jail staff will find out what pharmacy they use and contact their pharmacist.

The jail also considers possible conflicts between different inmates. Delaney said people are separated in different areas within the jail.

“The tried and true method of the intake process and the objective classification system is to avert the risk,” Delaney said. “We are responsible for this person when they walk in the door.”

A recently arrested police officer may not have many friends in a county jail, and that may be considered in their housing assignment. Henson spent less than 24 hours in the jail, and he didn’t receive a special housing assignment.

“The objective classification determines their housing assignment,” Delaney said. “Their housing assignment may be a single cell in intake that’s viewable by an officer that’s directly across from them. Later on down the road it could be in a classification unit where there are 35 to 40 other inmates. Or it could be a single cell in segregation or in a mental health cell.”

Delaney said some of the same challenges could be presented when you have someone who is arrested for a homicide or for a sex crime.

“We try to treat everyone the same, but they are all different,” Delaney said.

Walworth County Sheriff Graves said that in the past Walworth County has also sent inmates to jails in other counties to avoid potential conflicts.

Graves said other jails will send their inmates to Walworth County to avoid conflicts.

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