The Birmingham City Jail desperately needs cleaning, according to written complaints from more than six female inmates. Prisoners aren’t the only ones reporting problems; weeks before, the jail barely passed a health inspection.
Environmental health specialist Kevin Tolbert reveals that the establishment received 68 out of 100 possible points. Fox 6 puts that into perspective: “Health officials say any score below 60 means an emergency, automatic closure.” Furthermore, “a score under 70 means a facility has to initiate a corrective action.”
The poor — even hazardous — conditions are due largely in part to pests. The inspection revealed an infestation of cockroaches, including roaches crawling inside the kitchen’s ice bin and on top of the inmates’ food trays. These pests have an enormous potential for causing harm: in fact, over 33 different types of bacteria have been linked to cockroaches.
Several inmates report being underfed and receiving unreasonably small portions, a possible result of contamination from the insects. Pest control professionals are now visiting the jail two to three times a week and will continue to do so until they contain the infestation. A health inspector will assess the jail for improvement on August 18.
Pests aren’t the only problem in Birmingham City Jail. Mildew and mold are growing on the showers, and several toilets are in disrepair. Jail employees flush them intermittently using buckets of water. Toilet paper and feminine hygiene products are in short supply. One inmate describes the food and bathroom facilities as simply “deplorable.”
“A police department spokesperson said they are working now to fix those deficiencies,” NBC affiliate 12-WSFA reports. “The department plans to improve the jail but those plans depend on getting a new budget approved first.”