Cumberland County jail

Cumberland County jail

BRIDGETON — A Cumberland County freeholder on Tuesday urged the public to contact their local officials and ask them to support a package of COVID-19 reforms to the county jail.

“We need the public to be engaged in this conversation,” said Democrat Jack Surrency. “I’m asking, no, I’m pleading that the public contact their county freeholders and urge them to support these resolutions to protect our corrections officers, staff and inmates during this pandemic.”

Last week, county jail officials announced 14 cases of the novel coronavirus in jail staff, but said there were no positive cases in inmates.

Officials did not return a request for an update Thursday, including the total number of inmates that have been tested.

An attorney for PBA Local 231, the corrections officers union, filed a civil lawsuit April 23 alleging jail officials failed to develop policies and provide necessary equipment for corrections officers ahead of the pandemic.

By showing their support, residents can help the package appear on the May 26 freeholder board agenda, according to a news release from Surrency.

Surrency submitted the package to the board clerk May 12. It includes hazard pay for corrections officers, weekly testing and reporting of personnel and inmates, personal protection equipment disclosures and strict enforcement of the state attorney general’s guidelines.

“We can put these measures into place right now and test, treat and track the virus in our jails,” Surrency said. “We cannot look away, and we can no longer sacrifice the health and safety of our corrections officers, staff and inmates.”

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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