“They’re in dangerous situations,” Inmate’s relatives respond to County’s statement on jail conditions

A video recorded by an inmate shows the living conditions of the inmates at the detention center.
A video recorded by an inmate shows the living conditions of the inmates at the detention center.((CHRIS JOSEPH/WIS TV))
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:22 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Family members of inmates at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center are speaking out after videos and pictures surfaced showing the conditions inside of the jail.

A video recorded by an inmate shows a toilet disconnected from the wall in one of the cells. Also, in the video, an inmate can be heard saying they’ve been locked inside that cell for 36 hours without a working toilet or running water.

Infested and deplorable are just some of the words family members are using to describe the conditions inside of Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Family members of some of the inmates tell WIS these conditions are becoming a health hazard for their loved ones.

Videos like those have been making rounds on social media. It shows sewage filling the cell floor. A disconnected toilet seat that appears not to work and a sink with no running water. Another video shows uncooked meals, and what some inmates say are inedible.

“People shouldn’t have to deal with that kind of stuff, and I don’t care what you did. It’s not right. It’s not right for my loved one or anyone else’s loved one who has to be subjected to that kind of treatment,” said Unique, a relative to one inmate.

Unique says her loved one has been at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center since November and says he’s seen rats and snakes in his cell. She is afraid for her loved one’s safety -- not just because of the conditions in the jail but also the lack of security.

She says, “They’re in dangerous situations. One young lady I spoke to said that her loved one was attacked and hasn’t heard anything back yet.”

No heat in the winter, no air in the summer, and no access to water are among some of the other complaints.

“How are they able to get into an unauthorized area? And how is it that many inmates in one unauthorized area that doesn’t make sense to me,” said another inmate relative who did not want to be identified?

Unique says, “If your COs are doing their job, if the administration is doing their job, how did several inmates get to an unauthorized area.”

Another woman who did not want to be identified has a brother incarcerated at Alvin S. Glenn. She says the facility just needs to be torn down.

“It’s terrible and to hear them call, and we can’t do nothing about it. That just weighs more on me,” said the woman who wants to remain anonymous.

Richland County’s statement went on to say the release of these videos indicates that there are flaws in the security system, which is intended to prevent detainees from obtaining contraband cell phones, and we are working to correct that.

The deaths of two inmates were reported last year. The first was 27-year-old Lason Butler.

Butler was found dead inside a cell and his death was ruled a homicide in April. Reports say he died from dehydration.

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