Mother demands answers on Madison County Jail ‘IT issues’

Updated: Feb. 14, 2020 at 7:15 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -The Madison County Jail is wrapping up a week where a compromised IT system has led to bail delays, inaccurate roster work and a murder trial mix-up.

For days WAFF has been asking what’s going on, and county leaders have only said there are “IT issues.”

For one mother, that’s not good enough.

On Wednesday, Nannette Sanders traveled from Tuscaloosa to bail out her son, Chamberlain Gittens.

Source: Nannette Sanders
Source: Nannette Sanders(Source: Nannette Sanders)

She said he is being held for possession of marijuana and possession of an unregistered firearm.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office did not return a request for comment, and is not currently publishing arrest dates or charges for its inmates online.

“My baby is up there shaking his head like ma, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know what’s going on. They don’t have phones. They’re cut off from the world. Does anybody know how that feels?” she said.

She said when the jail couldn’t get the bond paperwork done in five hours, she had to leave her son to care for her sick mother, who is on dialysis.

Source: Nannette Sanders
Source: Nannette Sanders(Source: Nannette Sanders)

She had top leave him behind bars when he should’ve been going home.

“I just don’t understand, how do you just have a system that can’t be fixed for weeks and weeks and weeks. That’s b***s***. That’s IT, you can’t do it, you’re a police officer. Where’s the people who’s supposed to be correcting this? That’s what I’m asking, why is it going on so long?” she said.

The sheriff’s office did release a statement Friday that read:

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is currently experiencing issues with the agency’s IT network. The Madison County IT Department is working diligently to solve the issues.

The Sheriff’s Office is confident that these IT issues are not negatively impacting services and operations within the Madison County Jail, nor are they impacting public safety services and operations within the Patrol Division.

Sheriff Kevin Turner said, “As a CALEA accredited agency we pride ourselves in the high level of professional service we provide to the community, and we will continue to operate and hold ourselves to that high standard.”

This past week begs to differ.

Monday, the sheriff’s office sent the wrong inmate to a murder trial, then sent the right inmate two hours late.

Tuesday, a bail bondsman said it’s taking 24 hours to bail someone out when it used to take four hours, tops.

Wednesday, the jail told WAFF one inmate was still behind bars, when WAFF had interviewed him in station’s parking lot.

Thursday, the office said it would be posting an intake form online everyday at 10 a.m..

Due to Jail View being down, the following attachment is a list of current incarcerated inmates in the Madison County...

Posted by Madison County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, February 13, 2020

Friday’s posting didn’t make it until 1:22 p.m..

Due to Jail View being down, the following list is inmates that were booked into the Madison County Jail Facility over the last 24-hours. (As of 0700 this morning)

Posted by Madison County Sheriff's Office on Friday, February 14, 2020

“Why isn’t it fixed yet? They can’t tell you. What is the issue? They can’t tell you. They keep telling your someone hacked the system. Who?” Sanders said.

WAFF 48 News reached out to Chairman Dale Strong, Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Brent Patterson, the entire Madison County Commission, Madison County Attorney Jeff Rich, and Madison County IT specialist Bryon Campbell.

They all said they couldn’t comment, didn’t know or didn’t call WAFF back.

WAFF asked Patterson directly if the office has been hacked.

He would not answer the question, but referred back to statements outlining “IT issues.”

WAFF 48 News reached out to H2L Solutions Cyber Security Engineer Jessica Tubbs for context on “IT issues.”

She said only had speculation.

“There are a lot of things that can knock out everything. If they had a security breach, if there system was compromised in some way there are a lot of different ways it could be compromised,” she said.

WAFF 48 News requested documents from Rich on Tuesday that would explain what’s going on.

He still has not responded.

WAFF has contacted our legal counsel to speed up the process.

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