Area Jails On Alert After Attack at MCJ Injures Two Corrections Officers

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The inmate attack that left two Marathon County Corrections officers injured has surrounding jails on alert.

"With any type of job you can do everything right and still a tragedy like this can happen," Portage County Jail Administrator Captain Cory Nelson told NewsChannel 7.

He's not surprised by the attack at the Marathon County Jail, saying unfortunately this is not the first time something like this has happened. Although Captain Nelson would like it to be the last, he has his doubts.

"We do have incidents that happen here inside this facility and a whole lot of other facilities," he said.

One reason is overcrowding. Similar to Marathon County, space is at a premium in Portage County. The building was constructed back in the 1990's and deputies say they're quickly running out of space. That's why they send many of their inmates to Lincoln County.

"You get a lot of people confined in a small area and tensions are going to rise," Captain Nelson explained adding "People have bad days. It's no different than anybody else on the streets."

Besides trying to keep the jail population down, Corrections Officers are armed with tasers, pepper spray and specialty training. The involvement of the Sheriff can also makes a difference in preventing violence. In Portage County, Sheriff John Charewicz makes his presence known.

"He knows what we deal with," Captain Nelson said. "He understands. It just helps us out knowing that we have him in our corner."

But even with all of these precautions, Captain Nelson says their guard is up after what happened.

"It's an eye opener for everybody when something like this happens, especially when it happens so close to home. As an eye opener, we're being more vigilant because not only have we heard about it, but the inmates have heard about it."

That makes the threat of copy cats all too real.

"It's always in the back of everybody's mind and I think it would be foolish to believe that it's not there," Captain Nelson shared.

Given that one of the victims in the Marathon County attack was a female, NewsChannel 7 asked Captain Nelson if he thinks gender plays a role in these kinds of attacks. He told us he doesn't think gender play a whole lot into it.

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