Ward County Jail back in order

Congratulations are due to Ward County Sheriff Bob Barnard and the staff at the Ward County Jail. Barnard has the county’s house back in order.

Barnard informed the Ward County Commission Tuesday of a letter from the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that states the jail will be subject in the future only to routine, annual inspections. The jail no longer is subject to special state monitoring.

The DOCR indicated in July that the jail had made great strides, warranting the end of full-time monitoring. Barnard said a monitor has visited the jail about three times since, typically spending less than a day to conduct spot reviews on certain areas of operation. The jail had been under full-time compliance monitoring from January 2015 through July of this year. The state placed Robert Werlinger as monitor following an investigation into the October 2014 death of Dustin Irwin, who died in Bismarck after being transferred from Ward County Jail. The investigation revealed a pattern of jail compliance violations.

In terms of inmate population and proper staff training, Ward County Jail has obviously made tremendous strides. Previously cited for failure to train staff, the Ward County Jail has developed an in-house program for training its correctional officers – and the program is expanding to offer training to other agencies, including employees of DOCR.

That’s quite a turnaround.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a new chapter for the jail.

Minot Daily News congratulates Barnard, his senior staff and jail staff.

Let’s not see a repeat of the mistakes of the past. As we know from the ugly nucleus of this whole affair, mistakes cost human lives.