COLUMBIA, S.C. — Safety and living conditions for detainees have been at the forefront of problems concerning the Richland County jail for years.
In a Tuesday meeting, the Richland County Detention Center Committee heard plans and ongoing work hoping to chip away at these issues.
Interim director for the jail, Crayman Harvey says right now the jail is searching for 105 detention officers to fill vacancies.
The county has increased starting salaries to $40,000 to help try to entice new recruits.
In addition to recruitment efforts, the county is also trying to address ways to keep new staff and current staff safe with a new locking mechanism for doors.
The Wedge is a locking system that is reportedly more difficult for inmates to tamper with.
"It allows for a set back so you can't really reach anything to get it. There's also a device that when anytime it's tampered with, it makes noise so you know," said County Administrator, Leonardo Brown.
These new locks would go on 448 doors and cost the county roughly $2.5 million to have them installed.
The County Administrator and Interim Jail Director also talked about improvements being made to the kitchen as well, showing a 3D model of what the kitchen looked like before improvements.
The jail is also making swaps to its toilets. The first time Crayman Harvey went before Richland County Council last year, he explained that many of the dorms in the jail have porcelain toilets and sinks, which can be easily broken.
Now the detention center is getting new metal toilets with attached sinks in the Yankee Unit as you would see in most other jails.
The improvements to the kitchen are expected to be completed within the next month, and there is no timeline for the new door-locking mechanisms as of yet.