Augusta leaders address rising concerns at detention center

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 8:27 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Reports on living conditions at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center have been a big topic for weeks.

On Monday, city leaders are telling the community what they plan to do about them.

We spoke with an inmate’s sister who says who says her family knows firsthand, how much the jail needs those improvements.

“The hernia that’s on his groin is getting bigger. He still hasn’t been able to go to the hospital like he should. The doctor told him that he has to wait till he gets on the outside,” Shelia Bowen, an inmate’s sister, says.

Her brother has been at the Charles Webster detention center since August for failing to appear at court.

Bowen says he’s not getting proper medical attention and is in constant pain.

“When the hot water comes in, that’s not working. The toilets are backed up, the blankets have been taken from them,” Bowen says.

We have been tracking this issue ever since inmates called our station and told us about the lack of resources, last month.

Since then, the sheriff’s office says they sent crews to work on their heating units nonstop during Christmas weekend. They say conditions were never unsafe. But the families impacted, say these are not new problems.

“Even though they did bad things and are incarcerated, but they are human beings,” a family member states.

City commission is now looking to raise get more money per inmate to help fund these resources.

Garnett Johnson, Mayor of Augusta, said: “Pay for some of the simplest things as it relates to all inmates as it relates to health care and a lot of other things. We think it’s time for a higher reimbursement rate.”

The family says hopefully sooner rather than later.

Bowen says, “He really needs to go to the hospital. He fears of dying in there, he said, ‘these people are goin to let me die up in here.”

We’ve reached out to the sheriff’s office since their last update after Christmas. We’ll let you know when they respond.