Richland County leaders working to strengthen county jail
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 00:16:31 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH) --- Thursday, Richland County leaders getting an up close look at life behind bars.
After recent incidents at the Richland County jail, including suicide and an investigation of a February assault against a prisoner, council members activated a committee to help improve the jail.
"Walking through the facility and seeing that first hand is an eye opening experience," said county councilman Seth Rose.
Rose is familiar with the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
He's a private attorney that previously worked in the solicitor's office.
During the tour, Rose and county leaders spoke to guards and learned in a meeting afterwards they're making thousands less than those doing the same jobs in neighboring counties.
"We're paying significantly less than every other county and so we have to look at that because if we have the best and brightest, the inmates are going to get better services," adds Rose.
Detention Center director Ronaldo Myers says the job requires constant training.
Guards spend 30 days in prison dorms supervising more than 60 prisoners, which can lead them to feeling locked up as well.
In order to prevent burn out, officers are rotated between dorms nearly every 30 days.
"If the inmate isn't safe the officers aren't safe, if the inmates are violent we remove those inmates immediately," said Myers.
Myers says while people only hear about problems at the detention center, plenty of positive things happen daily.
"We don't sing our praises enough when we do something positive. An inmate was choking and the officers helped saved their life , an inmate came in with a weapon a concealed weapon and the officers found it," adds Myers.
"Better days are ahead for this detention center and we're going to have a better product for the citizens of Richland County," said Rose.