Taking Action Investigation Update: Incoming sheriff responds to jail problems, ready for January

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. -  This week we've been reporting on issues inside the Marshall County jail during our Taking Action Investigation, "Bad Behavior." Our investigation showed viewers videos and pictures of inmates smoking, fighting and using drugs in the jail.

We have reached out to Sheriff Scott Walls for comment numerous times, but he hasn't responded.  But, Walls won't be sheriff long. Phil Sims unseated him in the primary election.

On January 21, 2019, Sims inherits control of the Marshall County Jail. He unseated the current sheriff by nearly four thousand votes. WHNT News 19 asked Sims if he's worried about what awaits him.

"No, no," Sims replied. "I'm not nervous at all."

Sims said the current problems inside the county jail, contraband like cell phones and drugs, and fighting, isn't specific to Marshall County's jail.

"It's an ongoing problem not just in the Marshall County Jail," Sims said. "It's an ongoing problem in state prisons and other county jails across the state. Some places more than others. So yeah, it was a concern of mine and I've heard about it, known about it. We knew we were going to have to do something about it."

The incoming sheriff also said he's confident the jail under-staffing issue will get resolved. As we reported, the jail has 10 open jailer positions. That leaves 18 corrections officers responsible for 274 inmates.

"There's people out there that want to be corrections officers," Sims explained. "The benefits help too. The county has excellent benefits included in their employment package. So yes, people are out there inquiring about it and yes, we can hire people."

At this time, Sims said he has not spoken to Sheriff Walls once since the election.

"I have not been contacted by Sheriff Walls or anybody in his administration about any kind of transitions at this time," Sims said.

Despite the chaos depicted inside the Marshall County jail, Sims said he is ready for office and ready to protect the community.

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