By Alex Bridges
FRONT ROYAL -- The new regional jail in Warren County needs a barber.
Efforts by the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail to find someone to provide haircuts to inmates have not been successful, Superintendent Robert Mulligan said Thursday.
"I didn't have a problem in Loudoun [County]," Mulligan said, referring to the jail that opened several years ago near Leesburg. "They were standing in line because for them it was easy money."
The superintendent said a barber could cut hair for many inmates in a matter of hours.
"Here, we advertised in paper, put it on our website," Mulligan recalled. "We sent someone out around town -- we didn't know all the locations but we told them drive around town and if they see a barbershop ask them."
Jail representatives dropped off information about the opening for barber services but they have not heard from anyone interested, Mulligan said.
"It's a service the inmates pay for," the superintendent noted. "So we try to get them a decent barber."
The jail had posted the job in an information for bid on the facility's website but received no response, Michelle Draper, chief financial and personnel manager, said Friday. The window for responses closed May 28.
The jail officially begins operations Tuesday, though the transitional period started weeks ago as the facility filled staff positions, installed equipment and trained employees. In the past week the three county jails transported their inmates to the regional facility.
The search for someone to provide haircuts to inmates is only part of the jail's efforts to fill vacancies. The jail is authorized for 149 sworn and civilian employees.
As of Friday, the jail still had vacancies for 18 correctional officers, three records clerks and three nurses. The second class of corrections officers expected to join the jail's staff graduated from the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy on Wednesday. Even with the new recruits, the jail will still need to hire correctional officers.
The Jail Authority Board approved a contract for inmate medical services on Thursday. The jail enlisted a doctor to provide services to inmates under a temporary contract until the board approved the permanent agreement. As of Thursday, the jail had filled two of the five nurse positions.
While the jail can take care of many inmate health matters, some issues that arise may require services provided at a hospital. The jail recently sent one inmate to the hospital to be examined after he fell, Mulligan said. Jail officials hope to have on-site medical staff to handle inmate health matters.
The jail still needs to enter into contracts for dental and pharmaceutical services, Draper said Friday.
Mulligan reported to the Jail Authority Board that the jail will put off buying any software packages to handle inmate medical records. Mulligan said the jail will likely wait and request funding for this in the fiscal 2016 budget. Until then, the jail will keep paper records for inmate medical information.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org