COLUMBIA, SC — A committee studying improvements at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center has recommended a change in the pay scale for guards, said County Councilman Seth Rose.
“We need to have incentives to retain quality employees and not lose them to neighboring counties,” Rose, who leads the committee, said Monday.
County Administrator Tony McDonald said the plan would create a “career ladder” for detention officers so they would have opportunities for raises and promotions as they gain experience and certifications. Pay increases would go with the promotions, he said.
Starting corrections officers in Richland County earn $25,745 per year, compared to a $33,900 annual salary for new officers in Lexington County.
The recommendation comes as the jail committee studies ways to improve the detention center, following the near-fatal beating of an inmate in February. Robert Sweeper III, a homeless man, was stomped and kicked nearly to death by a jail guard and left in his cell for four days before he was sent to a hospital. Six guards were fired after the beating, including one who was arrested on a charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
New security cameras also have been added in a special holding cell, where Sweeper was beaten. The new cameras fill blind spots in the cell and hallway outside, Rose said.
The jail’s staff also recommended the committee hire an independent firm to study the jail’s management and operations, Rose said. The committee approved the recommendation. While Rose said he did not know how much the study would cost, he said it would not be an extra expense, because jail administrators found money in the budget to cover the cost.
Finally, the committee approved a recommendation to hire another mental health professional. That new employee’s credentials have not been decided.