Milwaukee County Jail inmate complaints; blame on staff shortages

New complaints are being made about life inside the Milwaukee County Jail.

An inmate told FOX6 News they have had days when they did not leave their cells. He said the jail faced shortages of staff and things like toilet paper.

"We had been locked in our cells 23 hours a day, on Sunday, we weren’t let out of our cells at all," said Ronald Schroeder, detained while awaiting trial.

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Schroeder spoke in June blaming staff shortages for long lockups and other problems. He is awaiting trial for reckless homicide.

"As a result, a number of individuals on pod 6C, they flooded their toilets," Schroeder said.

Ronald Schroeder

Schroeder said that led to another punishment.

"Occupants were told that we were not going to be served our meal. We were only served a bologna sandwich because so many people were creating an uproar," Schroeder said.

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During a Milwaukee County Board Judiciary Committee meeting on Friday, July 15, Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy played audio with an inmate and disguised the voice.

"When we are given our meals, there’s a large barking dog and another deputy with pepper spray," the inmate said. "There is a shortage of trash bags which has resulted in trash being placed on the same tables we eat on."

Milwaukee County Chief Deputy Denita Ball said staffing is critical.

"We are in crisis mode and to help some of the burden, we have 20 deputies that have been assigned to the jail. Our shortage has lead to a substantial increase of our overtime budget," Ball said.

Milwaukee County Jail

Ball refused to answer questions about suicide inside the jail.

"I respectfully request not to comment on that because suicides whether the investigation is completed is still subject to claims and litigation and as a result, I don’t want to put the county into a situation based upon a response I may give," Ball said.

The Milwaukee County Jail houses 30,000 people a year. Friday's discussion was sparked by a late June suicide. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said the 21-year-old man was put in a holding cell and checked every 30 minutes.

Two people died in the jail in the last year – one was ruled a suicide, and the other was heart failure.