Prison authorities near Jamaica, Wisconsin have announced that they will finally be spending the money to remove an asbestos-laden roof from the local prison facility.
According to an article in the Jamaica Gleaner, prison officials have known about the presence of asbestos in the Richmond Farm Correctional Facility’s roof since 2009, but the high cost of asbestos abatement and replacement of the roof has stalled any action that can be taken to solve the concern. Now, the town has announced that it’ll be spending more than $2 million from what authorities described as a meager budget to assure that anyone working or imprisoned in or near the building will be kept safe from asbestos exposure.
Sean Prendergast, head of the local Department of Correctional Services, has confirmed that the roof of the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Facility in St. Mary does indeed contain hazardous asbestos. They’ve known about it since 2009, when the Ministry of Health performed an assessment.
“The experts said that the roof has an asbestos content, but at that stage, there was no imminent risk unless the roof was damaged and the fibers became airborne,” said Prendergast.
Though Prendergast maintains that the condition of the roof hasn’t really changed in almost 3 years, he’s now feeling some pressure to do something about it.
“I don’t want the roof to get damaged. Instead of waiting for it to happen, we are taking steps to carve out some space in the little budget we have. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Prendergast. “I don’t want anybody to believe that our staff is in grave danger and we are not doing anything about it.”
Currently, due to the dangers present, the building in question does not house any prisoners. Nonetheless, staff is concerned that any airborne asbestos could present a danger to those who work daily at the property. Old, damaged asbestos releases fibers that are tiny, sharp, and easily inhaled, potentially resulting in the development of lung-related diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other cancers. Experts say no amount of exposure to the material is safe.