Scott County Jail’s hygiene packs back in stock

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

BENTON, Mo. — Personal hygiene packages for inmates are back in stock at the Scott County Jail.

Scott County Deputy Chief Ron Merideth confirmed to the Standard Democrat on Monday the personal and hygiene items for inmates were in stock and have been distributed to inmates.

“We got an emergency package in on Friday, and it wasn’t quite full but there was enough to make 60 packs,” Merideth said.

The next order was expected to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday, Merideth said, adding a total of 11 cases of the personal packages were ordered.

“There are supposed to be 144 in a box and the box the jail received only contained 75 packs,” Merideth said. “We wanted to have a backup supply and enough packs to cover us for a few weeks.”

He said the next order should give the jail plenty extra personal packs.

“We won’t have this happen again,” Merideth said of the issue.

The Scott County Jail was put under scrutiny after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday the jail was denying detainees basic necessities such as soap and shampoo.

Allen Towe of Sikeston, told the Post-Dispatch that female inmates at the Scott County Jail such as his 30-year-old pregnant daughter, Tiffany Vaughn, have even been denied feminine hygiene products.

Inmates entering the Scott County Jail in Benton are supposed to receive a bag with deodorant, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, two bars of soap and a comb. On Friday, Merideth said the jail had been out of all of those items except toothpaste for more than two weeks.

Merideth said the sheriff’s department placed an order in October with its supplier for 11 boxes of personal hygiene bags, but the bags were mistakenly sent to Scott County, Iowa. He said he was disappointed that the jail administrator chose to wait for another shipment rather than buy the supplies locally.

Though everyone is supposed to get a hygiene bag upon entry to the jail, only indigent inmates get a second bag for free after two weeks. Otherwise, hygiene products and other commissary items are available from an electronic kiosk, but delivery takes anywhere from one day to a week to arrive.

Kayla McWhirter, 28, a former inmate from Bertrand, told the Post-Dispatch she wasn’t given any personal hygiene supplies when she was booked on Nov. 19. She said she had been arrested for failing to appear in court involving a case of driving with a suspended license.

She said she was on her period the first three days of her jail stay. Inmates gave her three pads, and she traded a piece of cake for two more. Otherwise, she used toilet paper to get by, she said.

McWhirter was sent to the emergency room when she had intense abdominal pain and high blood pressure. She said she was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia and a urinary tract infection. A doctor prescribed an antibiotic and she returned to jail.

When she was released to go home on Wednesday, McWhirter said, jail staff kept the antibiotics she was prescribed a few days prior.

Merideth told the Post-Dispatch the company that handles medical care in the jail doesn’t allow people to go home with medications prescribed while incarcerated.

McWhirter, who doesn’t have health insurance, told the Post-Dispatch she was trying to figure out a way to get the prescription filled for the urinary tract infection. She suspects she got it in jail from using toilet paper instead of clean pads for her period.

Merideth said there is always enough toilet paper and feminine products at the jail. If inmates need these items, all they have to do is ask for them, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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