Microwaves removed from jail for safety reasons - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Microwaves removed from jail for safety reasons

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MCLENNAN COUNTY -

McLennan County Sheriff, Parnell McNamara, followed through on a campaign promise Monday to remove all microwaves from inmates' cells at the county jail.

"This is a county jail. It's got people locked up for serious offenses," explained Sheriff McNamara. "It's not the spa on Highway 6."

Around 8:00 a.m. Monday, deputies removed a total of 47 microwaves from the cells, where McNamara said they'd been for several years. The appliances were stacked 4 rows high inside the sally port of the jail.

McNamara vowed during his 2012 campaign to address complaints about the microwaves. The sheriff said several people complained that inmates didn't deserve to have such luxuries.

"Why are people that are in jail, that have been robbers, [committed] sexual assaults, murderers, allowed to sit in a cell, watch TV, pop popcorn and have the luxuries of a home?" McNamara said.

McNamara also suggested the microwaves posed a significant safety threat to inmates and officers.

"Concoctions have been heated up to a boiling point, of shaving cream and lotions and different things, and thrown in the face of inmates," McNamara said.

You won't find microwaves in the Bell County Jail or the Coryell County Jail for the same reason. Lieutenant Donnie Adams said the Bell County Sheriff's Office had never considered allowing microwaves in jail cells.

"We see it as a potential hazard," Adams explained. "[The sheriff's office] took that into consideration and did not allow them to be put in."

Chief Deputy Joe Blakely of the Coryell County Sheriff's Office agreed that microwaves could be used as potential weapons.

"With a microwave, I can see where you can heat something up and actually do some pretty serious damage to someone," Blakely said.  

According to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Texas counties have the right to install microwaves in county jail cells. There are no rules prohibiting the appliances.

The microwaves removed Monday from the McLennan County Jail will remain in storage until they are eventually sold, said Sheriff McNamara.

Three microwaves remain in the county jail for use by trustee inmates.

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