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Operational changes have occurred at the Grant County Detention Center following a complaint against the facility’s chief deputy.
Dennis Bailey, chief deputy at the jail since January 2011, is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a KSP investigation.
Peeples said the investigation, even though it is not concluded, has prompted some changes at the facility.
“The investigation did reveal some issues,” Peeples said.
Those changes include closing of the canteen or inmate store, which allowed inmates to purchase items such as snacks, candy bars and Cappucino.
Peeples said the original intent of the canteen was to be used as a behavioral tool to control inmates but it had become an accounting nightmare for auditors.
“It created problems all the way around, especially for the auditors and there was the possibility of theft,” Peeples said.
Within the next 30 days, the canteen will be closed and inmates will go back to ordering commissary items directly from a vendor. The items are then shipped to the jail.
“The canteen was something we wanted to try because we thought it could be a tool to change inmate behavior and be prosperous to the county but instead of changing behavior for the better it was for the worst,” Peeples said.
Other changes include:
• Closing the double doors at the end of facility’s main hallway, where Class D inmates, who are considered low-flight risk, are given more freedom to move around their area.
Closing the doors means the Class D prisoners cannot walk the main hallway.
• Changes to the Class D program, which include separation of male and female prisoners.
Peeples said there were issues with family, friends and the inmates themselves attempting to sneak contraband into the jail.
Because of that, he said that the facility now houses enough male Class D prisoners for two work crews for the state and one for the county. These prisoners are used to mow public property, as well as clean up at the parks and cemeteries.
Peeples said most of the Class D prisoners now at the facility are female.
“We’re basically attempting to split the males and females into two separate sections so there’s as little contact as possible,” Peeples said.
• Changes to the facility’s monitoring system will also allow the detention center’s administrative staff to be able to view the jail’s security cameras from home.
“We’ve added 25 new cameras, bringing us to a total of 122, since we took over last year,” Peeples said.
Peeples said his priority is training the staff and keeping the facility full of inmates, which means more revenue.
Upon taking over as jailer last year, Peeples began employing part-time deputies, which results in frequent turnover.
“We’re paying $10.50 per hour for our part-time employees and it’s difficult to get quality help at that rate when other jails are paying more, but it does save the county $300,000 to $400,000 per year,” Peeples said. “It’s inconvenient and a pain to us but as long as we can save money I don’t see any other option.”