Madison County jail website still not fixed


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As of Monday evening, two Madison County jail inmates are still being treated after they got sick from a strange substance they got in the mail.   

Sheriff’s office leaders haven’t said what the substance was. But they’re also trying to fix part of the jail website, which remains down.

Monday was the first time in weeks Renee Wiessner was granted a visit to see her boyfriend in the Madison County jail.

“The phones worked, but everybody was hungry because they rely on that commissary,” Wiessner said.

For nearly three weeks, the county jail has had problems with its website. There was a brief lockdown, phones went down, and information was hard to come by. But after about a week, Renee said her boyfriend had received the money she’d sent him.

“It was $110. It wasn’t chump change,” Renee said.

So far, Madison County leaders won’t say much more about what caused the jail website to go down other than calling this an IT issue. But people who’ve spoken to WHNT News 19 suspect this a ransomware attack, and they fear that some of their personal information may be at risk.

“If they are hacked by ransomware, they have my driver’s license number, my date of birth, my social security number, my bank information,” Renee said. “What else do you need?”

Madison County Sheriff’s Office spokespeople said the website problems didn’t affect operations at the jail. Another problem happened on Saturday evening when four inmates were hospitalized after ingesting a strange substance they got through the mail.

“I work in health care, so I understand HIPAA, information is vital, but it’s also on a need to know basis,” Renee said.

Madison County Sheriff’s Office spokespeople said two of the inmates are still being treated and they’re looking for whoever sent the package. But they don’t know how much longer it’ll be before the website is up and running again.

WHNT News 19 has asked the Madison County Sheriff’s Office for an updated list of who’s currently in the jail. The most recent list was shared on February 12, which showed around 1,061 inmates.

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