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13-160 Sheriff Orders Review of Jail Booking and Classification Procedures

Who:
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Detention and Corrections Bureau
Inspections Bureau

What:
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has ordered a complete review of jail booking and classification procedures in the aftermath of the death of inmate Kelly Harding at the Pinellas County Jail.

When:
The review is currently underway.

Where:
The review is taking place at the Pinellas County Jail.

Why/How:
In the aftermath of the Sunday death of Pinellas County Jail inmate Kelly Harding at the hands of suspect and cellmate Scott Greenberg, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has ordered the agency’s Inspection Bureau to conduct a thorough review of all jail bookings, inmate records, inmate classification, and inmate court appearance processes, procedures, paper flow, and other protocols.

According to the Sheriff, this review will determine exactly how and why Kelly Harding was not reclassified from a pre-trial felony detainee to a sentenced misdemeanant upon his change of plea in January 2013. The review will determine whether the issue is solely a “process” issue or whether staff accountability is also appropriate.

The Sheriff says, “The review will result in recommendations on necessary revisions to ensure proper procedures are in place so that all misdemeanor inmates, including those who initially booked into the jail as felons, are appropriately housed within the Pinellas County Jail. We want to make sure that this misclassification of inmates does not happen again.”

When the internal review is complete, the Sheriff will announce the findings and issue a report to the public and the media.
Sheriff Gualtieri expects the report to be completed within the next 60 days.

The review stems from an incident Sunday morning, July 21st, when Kelly Harding was found unresponsive in his cell. He was transported to the hospital where a subsequent investigation revealed he had died of strangulation as toilet paper had been forced down his throat. Harding’s cellmate Scott Greenberg made statements that he had killed Harding because he (Greenberg) wanted to go to death row. Greenberg was already in jail on murder charges. He is accused of strangling his girlfriend in a similar fashion to Harding. A preliminary review of jail records revealed that Harding was a sentenced misdemeanant and should not have been housed with Greenberg.

Greenberg is now charged in Harding’s murder, and is housed in a single person cell.

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