More manpower in the Jackson County Jail would have likely kept an inmate from escaping last week, according to Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen, of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, Oct. 21, Shelby Ryan Paradise, 34 of Scottsboro, escaped the jail after climbing a 16-foot fence topped with barbwire. Paradise was captured hours later in New Hope.
Harnen said Paradise was an inmate worker, working in the kitchen, when he was allowed to go into the yard.
“We don’t have the manpower to have corrections officer standing all the time with kitchen workers,” said Harnen.
Prior to Paradise’s escape, kitchen workers were allowed to wear shoes in the kitchen area. Since the escape incident, Harnen said workers now wear sliders at all times.
“We allowed kitchen workers to wear shoes because they don’t slide as much,” said Harnen. “As they worked in the kitchen, they got breaks to go outside. Obviously, Paradise had it planned.”
Still, it comes down to manpower, said Harnen. Harnen said the jail capacity is 208 inmates. As of Friday morning, there were 212 inmates.
Harnen said the jail day shift has up to 14 employees, while the night shift has five employees, managing the whole jail.
“Lockdown is at 10 p.m.,” said Harnen. “Once it’s locked down, the job becomes simple. You might have a couple of trustees running around doing laundry or something.”
Harnen said, in a perfect world, the day shift could use three or four more employees, while the night shift needs at least two more employees.
“If we had an extra deputy, you could put that deputy in the yard to watch,” said Harnen. “It just comes down to money.”