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Lauderdale woman questions grandson's treatment at jail

By By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
May 17, 2002
Ruth Smith appeared before the Lauderdale Board of Supervisors at a work session Thursday to complain about what she said was an assault against her grandson at the jail.
Smith said a corrections officer gave him a black eye on May 4. She declined to identify her grandson, saying she feared possible retaliation against him.
Smith said she called Sheriff Billy Sollie, who told her he would investigate the alleged incident and call her back. Smith said Sollie did not call back.
Sollie said an investigation was conducted, but board attorney Rick Barry told Sollie in Thursday's work session not to make his findings public.
Smith also complained about the fact that only three of 16 phones in the jail's visitation room work. The phones are needed because inmates and visitors are separated by a clear barrier.
Smith suggested money taken in at the jail's commissary be used to fix the phones. Sollie said those funds are already used for maintenance and replacement of visitation room phones.
Jail personnel say eight of the phones work. Maj. Doris Callahan, jail administrator, said the phones cost about $300 each to replace.