Pickens Jail Staffing Shortage

More than 20 officers still needed

Evan Smith
August 12, 2019 - 3:45 pm
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After already investing about $25 million into its new jail, Pickens County is now facing a staffing shortage at the facility, which has led to calls for salary increases for corrections officers.

Sheriff Rick Clark said he would be making the request at City Council, aiming to drive up the starting pay for officers at the jail, which currently sits at about $32,000 annually.

The main problem for staffing the Pickens jail is its close proximity to other, better paying opportunities. Just over in Greenville County’s jail system, starting officers make a full $9,000 more each year, while Anderson pays a little more than $1,000 more than the Pickens County jail.

As of now, given the staffing shortages, the jail has yet to open.

Sheriff Clark said the new jail is necessary, given that the current facility is old and overcrowded, with more than double the amount of inmates than it should be holding.

Before the jail can open, though, Clark still needs about 22 more officers, with 33 already hired.

The problem at Pickens does not exist within a vacuum, it should be noted. Shortages in prison and jail staff is a widespread issue nationwide, as penal systems struggle to attract and keep workers. And with fewer workers and more inmates, the dangers of the job become intensified, as officers are grossly outnumbered and often fresh on the job, with turnerover rates only increasing.

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