County leaders discuss Alvin S. Glenn plans after recent incidents
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With the county’s jail facing intense state and local scrutiny, Richland County Administrator Leonardo Brown called a news conference to talk county investments in the jail and provided insight into the recent high-profile incidents.
Brown called the work at the detention center challenging, “Staffing is a big concern at the facility.” He said that part of the county’s response to a need for staffing has included raising the minimum salary to $40,000. Other improvements the county has worked toward include adding referral and retention bonuses. Brown said the county has moved to bring in third-party staff to provide support.
Brown said the county is moving to renovate plumbing issues. He also shared that the county is contracting to provide a separate area for attorney-client interactions. New cameras and security locking measures are being planned for the center.
WIS’ Chris Joseph asked Brown about the door lock security at the facility. Brown explained that some of the older locks at the facility have been compromised and a rolling update to those units is underway.
The issues of the locks arose after five detainees were charged in connection to the murder of a detention center detainee on Jan. 27.
Sheriff Leon Lott cited doors that didn’t have locks as a contributing factor to the murder.
Brown declined to discuss details about the case, citing the ongoing law enforcement investigation.
“Any information that comes from that, I’ll review. If there’s additional information that I need to do as the county administrator regarding the internal staff, I’ll do that as well,” he said.
In early February three corrections officers were arrested from the facility. One was charged with accepting bribes from an inmate, and another was accused of alerting inmates before contraband searches. A third was accused of smuggling cell phones and other contraband into the center.
“Those decisions do not reflect the policies of me as the county administrator or Richland County Council,” he said.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections warned the county to provide an acceptable plan or it will mandate changes to keep the facility open.
Brown was asked if he has a contingency plan if the department does not accept the county’s improvement plan.
“The first step is to make sure the Department of Corrections is a part of that process. So I’m not going to get out in front of the Department of Corrections. What I’ll do is as I’ve said here, we’ll share our information with the department and at that time we’ll see how that goes, but we don’t have any reason to believe that the steps that we’re taking will put us in a position where they’re not acceptable to address the needs that are being expressed,” he said.
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