MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is changing some policies, in the wake of an inmate's death. James Wippel died in April 2017 of a ruptured ulcer and artery. He had been arrested on multiple drug charges and showed signs of detoxing prior to his death. Three Corrections deputies were acquitted of criminal wrongdoing, earlier this week, in connection with Wippel's death.
Sheriff Jim Adkins says although his deputies weren't at fault, the agency has updated some practices in order to better protect both inmates and staff, "We did see areas where we were lacking in some protocols that would help the deputies." He wants deputies to get special training to recognize the symptoms of detoxing versus other medical conditions, and Adkins thinks having access to round-the-clock medical care would help, too. "We don't have 24-hour nurses, so we're trying to hire nurses to help the deputies. my deputies are not medically trained, so anything I can do to help them, in these types of circumstances, will make us all better."
Adkins says, for the size of Jefferson County's population, his agency see a disproportionately high percentage of inmates suffering addictions, and dealing with that costs money, "Running a jail is a very expensive and very difficult task, especially these days with the drug overdoses [and] the medical costs that we see every day." He tells KBND News, "We were spending $180,000 a year in medical spending. Now, we're up to $500,000 a year, just so we can take better care of the inmates."