Decatur County Board of Commissioners questioned on future of Correctional Institute
Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015
A large portion of the officers from the Decatur County Correctional Institute appeared at the Decatur County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday to express concern for the possibility of the DCCI or Decatur County Prison closing.
Lt. Ronald McMillan spoke for the DCCI during public participation to address the board on whether or not they intended to shut the facilities down.
“I will personally say that on behalf of me and my staff—we need our jobs, and everybody out there has a family, and to point your fingers and say we are over budget or upside down,” McMillan said.
The concern stems from a revelation after the mediation between Decatur County and the Bainbridge City Council that the DCCI was losing $2.1 million a year, pointed out by legal consultants for the county. Decatur County commissioner Butch Mosely said they were exploring “opportunities” to resolve this issue during an interview after Decatur County signed off on the service delivery strategy resolution between the county and Bainbridge.
“I’m a new commissioner, I know nothing about the prison,” Commissioner Rusty Davis said. “I know nothing about a lot of these departments in the county, but me sitting down and seeing a $2.1 million loss that an accountant brought to our attention, I would not be doing our job if I wasn’t interested to see where that $2.1 million is coming from.”
Commission Chairman Dennis Brinson explained how the yearly loss shed a negative light on the prison, but he and the rest of the board were currently looking deeper into figures provided to them by Prison Warden Elijah McCoy.
“I think the prison is a tremendous asset to Decatur County,” Brinson said. “I am not in favor of shutting down the prison in this county.”
Commissioners Russell Smith, a former Florida prison warden, and George Anderson, a former employee of the Decatur County Prison, both understood McMillan’s concern for the livelihood of the DCCI’s employees, but insisted nobody had said they facility was going to be shut down.
“My heart is with the DCCI,” Smith said. “Nobody said shut it down. They said we would look at the numbers to see, and we want the numbers from an outside person to look at it.”
Commissioner Pete Stephens echoed Smith’s sentiments about looking at the numbers.
“That is absolutely incorrect, we will not close the prison,” Stephens said. “When we were presented with the $2.1 million deficit at the prison, we said we had to look at the numbers.”
Mosely said that although the numbers they were presented from the DCCI were “shocking,” they also needed to take a look at all the other departments within Decatur County and evaluate their numbers. He proposed a motion that Decatur County receives an efficiency study from an outside authority. The motion passed unanimously.