COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Hundreds of Cobb County inmates will soon have to wear a special medical device, in an effort to limit the rising number of jail deaths in the last month alone.
Channel 2’s Justin Carter He spoke with the bailiff, who hopes this will help jail staff keep a closer eye.
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Three inmates died at the Cobb County Jail in May. At least two of them were under mental health supervision.
It’s a problem Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens hopes to solve with a wristwatch-sized device.
Isaac Newton is part of the team that designed this orange wrist device that inmates deemed “at risk” will soon have to wear at the Cobb County Jail.
He showed Channel 2 Action News how it works on Tuesday inside the prison infirmary.
“Currently, suicides are the leading cause of death in prisons,” Newton said. “It detects a lack of movement, if we detect a heart rhythm. We’ll get a kill alarm and we’ll get it somewhere in the 15-30 second area.”
It can also detect if an inmate has removed the device, alerting jail staff in approximately 15 to 30 seconds.
“When people are determined to hurt themselves, there’s not much we can do sometimes.” Owens said.
Owens says he thinks it’s a long-term solution to a growing problem. He says Cobb County now not only has 24-hour mental health care in jail, but these devices are expected to get jail staff to medical emergencies faster.
“We’re going to accomplish some of those things through technology, because we just don’t have enough people to do the things we need to do,” Owens said. “I don’t want a death, one death is too many.”
The devices are in a Bluetooth system, so there is always a risk with data security. However, it will operate on the secure jail network.
It will also cost the county about $100 per device.
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