MARSHALL COUNTY — “I feel that the Sheriff and his buddy jailer think of the Bible as a comic book and it is not important.”
That was a quote from Marshall County resident Jim Hulse. During the Dec. 2 meeting of the Marshall County Commissioners, Hulse came forward and read a prepared statement concerning a complaint he had against County Sheriff Matt Hassel.
“The sheriff is a powerful man with lots of power. He deals with our worst people which is not a fun thing. I don’t want his job,” Hulse states before getting into the meat of his complaint.
“Now let’s talk about Bibles in his prison. He has his rules for a long time, over two years for sure. My son was in jail and he told me: ‘Dad, I asked for a Bible and they would not let me have one.’ They also withheld my son’s medicine which most likely contributed to my son’s suicide after his release. Last week, I had the experience of talking with the sheriff’s buddy the chief jailer about getting a Bible to a prisoner. I was told a list of rules that had to be enforced in order to get a Bible to someone. I said, may I have a list of the rules? I did not get such a list but asked why such rules? That’s because someone might hide contraband in the Bible he said. Well, we all know there are idiots who will try anything. I asked how many times has that happened in this jail, no answer,” said Hulse.
He went on to say that he was “screamed at” by the head jailer and was told “with his big outside voice to never ever, never call here again.”
According to Hulse, this was not an isolated incident and that other residents have been hung up on when they called contacting the Sheriff’s Department concerning Bibles.
“There is something here far more important than serving lunch on the toilet and sleeping on the floor,” Hulse says. “People’s souls and eternity is real even though the sheriff don’t believe in God and has proven that by restricting Bibles in his jail.”
Hulse joked that he thought about contacting Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi “about impeachment proceedings. Only difference here is all my stuff is the truth.”
Hulse ended his prepared speech by stating that his plan now will be to pray for the sheriff and the head jailer to “accept Christ as his personal savior and quit fighting God’s work while there is still time.”
Later on in the meeting, Sheriff Hassel appeared for another matter. Afterward, President of the Commissioners Kevin Overmyer asked Hassel if he wanted to comment on the accusations.
“Any type of book or magazine there’s stipulations on allowing that in. They can’t have any staples in it. They can’t have certain type of paper in them. But as far as the Bibles go, we have a whole program set up through our Chaplain,” said the sheriff. “All they have to do is ask him and he’ll get them a Bible.”
Sheriff Hassel also informed the commissioners that there is a Sunday service held at the jail where inmates can attend. There is a group of ministers and volunteers that meet with the inmates on a one-on-one basis if the inmates request it for prayer.
“The only other thing I can think of is that the Bible he was presenting didn’t have the right structure of it to allow it in. We have to be very careful,” said Hassel.
When asked about the attendance of the Sunday service, Sheriff Hassel stated that around 75 to 80 percent of the inmate population attend services.
“So far, this is the first complaint I’ve heard this year regarding religious services,” he said.