Richland County leaders present new locking system as a solution to faulty locks at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 8:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - County leaders are detailing improvements to the Alvin S Glenn Detention Center ahead of their state deadline of April 18th for an outline of these improvements.

You may recall, Richland County has reported at least three deaths at the detention just this year.  In at least one of those cases, it’s believed a faulty lock contributed to the death.  Now, we’re told improvements are on the way that would make Alvin S. Glenn more secure for the inmates and staff.

At the top of the list of improvements at the Alvin S Glenn Detention Center installing a new locking system in several units where the cells have been compromised. The estimated price for these new locks is 2.5 million dollars.

Here’s a look at the new locking system set to come to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. A version of it is currently being used at the Fulton County Detention Center in Atlanta.

County Administrator Leonardo Brown presented the plan to the ADHOC committee for the detention center Tuesday night.

“This particular product allows for a clean out of the debris. It allows for a set back so you can’t really reach anything to through it and anytime someone is tampering with it, it makes a noise. And you have a visual cue of whether or not the door is locked,” said Brown as he showed a video of the lock system being used at the jail in Fulton County.

Brown pointed to outdated cells at the detention center for the faulty locks on the doors. He says inmates are able to pry the locks open by jamming different items in them.

He says, “These are all real issues that not only us but other detention centers face.”

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Unique Spain.

Spain currently has a loved one detained at Alvin S. Glenn. She shed light on the faulty locks back in January, but the issue was only highlighted after an accused serial rapist, 29-year-old Antonious Randolph, was killed in his cell. That’s when an investigation by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department revealed a major safety concern...the cells were unable to lock, allowing inmates to come and go as they pleased.

Spain says, “they’re investing money into keeping the detainees and the staff safe and making sure the doors have proper locking mechanism is a good step but I think it’s going to take more than just these locks. It’s going to take staff involvement as well.”

The million-dollar price tag for the locks is something that most people we spoke with today wouldn’t mind paying for.

Other improvements on the list include an increase in pay for Correctional Officers, more staff including a compliance director and an assistant jail director as well as new kitchen equipment.

WIS reached out to the county for a timeline of when these locks will be installed but has not heard back yet. Brown mentioned to the county council the new lock system is something they are moving forward with.

Brown told the AD HOC committee the two new directors are to ensure there is leadership at the jail 24/7. Brown has previously indicated the current interim director is being assessed for the position permanently. He hopes to reveal potential candidates for a compliance and assistant director at the next meeting.

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