McLennan County Sheriff removes microwaves from jail cells to reduce violent scalding incidents

POSTED: Monday, January 14, 2013 - 1:29pm
UPDATED: Monday, January 14, 2013 - 3:34pm

Microwaves have been used, not only to heat food, but also to severely injure others at the McLennan County Jail.

On Monday, the Sheriff's Office conducted a special mission to confiscate the appliances, and hopefully put a stop to some of the jail violence.

Forty-seven stainless steel microwaves were ripped from about four dozen jail cells just after 9 a.m.  For the sheriff, this nearly two hour operation serves as a wakeup call as to what jail is really about.

"It's certainly not the spa on highway 6," said Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

Since taking office, one of the things that's been high on the sheriff's priority list has been to take away some of the luxuries offered at the jail. Microwaves and TVs are two items that have been placed in cells that are not required by state law.

"Robbers, sexual assaults, murderers, why are they allowed to sit in a cell, watching TV and pop popcorn and have the luxuries of a home?" said McNamara.

The microwaves have become a serious issue, because on several occasions, inmates have used them to heat up really hot substances and throw them on others.

"Shaving cream and lotions and different things have been thrown in the face of inmates, scalding the inmate. Things have been heated up and thrown at the officers," said McNamara.

Only three microwaves remain in the jail now, located in the cells of the trustees. Those cells hold up to eight occupants.

The sheriff's office hopes to not only improve safety at the jail, but also save some money by removing these appliances. In addition to the microwaves, officials took TVs from the cells of any inmates who acted out while microwaves were being removed. In the end, a few TVs were also collected.

Authorities say the microwaves will be stored for awhile until they will most likely be sold, eventually.

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