Special team tasked with making Woodbury County Jail safer for officers, inmates
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Michael Bardwell has been an inmate at the Woodbury County jail since May after he was charged with child endangerment with bodily injury.
Like the other 230 inmates at the jail, he had to do an interview when he arrived to determine which section of the jail Bardwell would stay in.
"The inmates have changed over the past few years where mental needs need to be addressed," said Randy Uhl, RISC team leader. "There's medical needs that need to be addressed. Just the different type of inmates that are coming in, we need to have different people trained and trained differently on how to handle them to make sure that their needs are met."
The system of placing inmates in different sections began in February under the RISC team.
RISC stands for Resistive Inmate Security and Classification and has been around since 1998.
It is responsible for dealing with disturbances in the jail, inmates' mental issues, and general security.
There are four classifications for inmates: minimum, medium, maximum and segregation. And they're all broken up into different sections at the jail. "We actually do get along quite well," said Bardwell. "We don't have issues. We don't have problems. We don't have the guards coming in and shaking us down. We don't have fights on a daily basis."
Uhl says since the revamp, he has also noticed the positive results.
"I would say that if there was five actual fist fights or physical fights, we may now only have one compared to if we would have five before in a small amount of time," said Uhl.
Bardwell, a minimum security inmate, says the team accommodates mental health issues.
He says he is diagnosed with depression and anger management, which led to his incarceration.
"The RISC team has done a very good job," said Bardwell. "You know they've taken care of me when I've been having a very bad moment. And they've handled it very professionally. They treated me with respect and that helped calm me down in fact."
And, Bardwell says his time behind bars has taught him a lot, including his need for medication to manage his mental health issues.