Jail update: Gilley still has not increased COVID testing

“No citizen who’s incarcerated by Escambia County who asks for a test should be denied a test.” -Doug Underhill


A week ago, the Board of County Commissioners made it very clear that wanted County Commissioner Janice Gilley to make COVID testing available to every prisoner in the Escambia County Jail.

“Any inmate that requests to be tested, I think should be tested,” Commissioner Lumon May told his fellow board members.”And I know that that’s been somewhat of a challenge, but I would love to have support.”

“Yeah, Janice. When we take the liberty of a citizen, we take on the obligation and responsibilities because we take away their ability to go and get tested themselves,” said Commissioner Doug Underhill. “I really don’t care what the cost or time involved is. No citizen who’s incarcerated by Escambia County who asks for a test should be denied a test.”

On Saturday, she wrote in an email that it would happen.

It hasn’t and instead the administration appears to be “slow walking” the testing in corrections.

As of Thursday, Aug. 6, the county had tested 212 prisoners.  In today’s COVID  update, the county reports only six additional people have been tested – an average of only one a day.

And this isn’t like the issue of testing of inmates came up for the first last week.  Commissioners have shared with Inweekly that they have brought it up several times with her since July 2 when the county reported its first three cases in the county jail.

The county has two assistant county administrators and two deputy administrators – one of them should be able to get the testing started if the administrator doesn’t have the time, knowledge or will to make it happen.




3 thoughts on “Jail update: Gilley still has not increased COVID testing

  1. I don’t understand how Janice Gilley still has a job. She’s made it obvious she can’t handle a crisis. Fire her and let’s get someone in there that can do better. She’s blundered this from day one.

  2. Neither Janice nor Alison have ever been shown by the board they directly report to that the board will take any action against them when they defy their wishes, give them lousy advice, and outright lie to them. The two of them are running political circles around the elected officials they are supposed to be serving, and those elected officials have to see it, yet they still allow it.

    Apparently they are under some pretty serious protection from some corner/s, as well, as the PNJ won’t touch their miserable performances with a ten-foot pole, and in fact shoot the BOCC down when they attempt to address their outsized and obvious failures.

    Doug loves it; he’s getting everything he wants, and then some. And while it was clear when her tenure started Janice was running the County through Doug channels, it’s just as clear that Doug is now running the County through Janice channels.

    And every week the rest of the board allows that situation to continue, we edge closer towards more irreparable outcomes. The jail is already a lost cause that could only be ameliorated now with some sort of humanitarian triage (start by getting the pregnant inmates out of there, pronto). We’re already past the point where contact tracing can be of any assistance whatsoever against local spread (although Janice will pretend to continue she’s doing it, and I’m sure there will be healthy numbers on those fake line items). The chance for the best application, stewardship, and efficacy of whatever CARES money we are awarded has come and gone. The BOCC missed the opportunity to support the teachers and, who knows, maybe some willing school board members and disdained to enter into that discussion. ECAT and Transit have devolved into a embarrassing 3-ring circus under Gilley’s tenure (which was probably the point). Janice wasted a chance to really help reform our EMS and Fire by focusing on witch hunts on long-time Public Safety employees and PRing herself as the person who rooted out corruption in that division (hahahahahahaha). 20- and 30-year employees tell me and others they have never seen staff morale this low–ever.

    Congrats, BOCC. How you like your direct reports’ efforts resulting in a renewed JAR “EMS IS HOLDING CALLS AGAIN BECAUSE THE BOCC WON’T PAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!” deluge?

    Member when those of us who actually care about the County had boxed Doug into a corner? Then your administrator got to choking off public input during a pandemic, making damn sure none of our voices could be heard via technology, as they easily implemented in the City. Because she knows not many of us are careless enough to go into that covid den of a chambers right now and rely on Sharon’s rag to keep our loved ones safe from this virus. Except from her perspective, that’s because we are fooled by a plandemic that is nothing but a hoax.

    Meanwhile, Doug doesn’t give a crap if the inmates are tested. It’s the perfect thing for him to thunder about to look as if he has a moral compass. He loves to make a big deal about stuff he doesn’t really give a fiddler’s fart about–the well being of inmates, poverty, environmental racism, sex trafficking–because they are monumentally difficult problems that require real leadership and diligence to even begin to address, leadership that he, even if he cared enough to do it, isn’t capable of providing. They’re all just epithets in his twisted bardic ramblings, stuffed back down into the “talking points” toybox in his brain before he even gets to washing his gob full of peanuts down with his 3rd coke of the meeting. It makes a guy hungry and thirsty to work up theatrical lathers on trageides you haven’t lifted a finger on–and won’t–other than to push out the daily tirades on Facebook.

    Janice has herself so deep in now with Doug that he can pretend he wants the inmates tested on the dais, demand she do it publicly, and then indicate otherwise behind the scenes–he’s been doing that crap for his entire time in office. What’s she gonna do? She’s staked her longevity on him. She’ll do whatever he tells her to do behind the scenes.

    And if people think Janice is a Trumplican? Doug is using an avowed local QAnon “leader” to do his dirty work these days. So that’s where we’re at, Escambia County. In his mind, Doug Underhill is fashioning a QAnon resistance, “doing his research,” “preparing,” and “trusting the plan.” With Janice taking the same alt-right cues, and Alison legally backing their every move.

    What more could possibly go wrong.

  3. Me thinks our County Administrator subscribes to the Donald Trump school of thought. No testing, no problem. Testing would require Janice Gilley deal with a problem she would rather ignore.

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