State: Florence Co. Detention Center needs more guards

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The state says the Florence County Detention Center doesn't have enough guards to watch the inmates inside the jail.

To fix this problem the state has mandated the county to hire more staff, but county leaders say right now they don't have the money to do so.

"I'm almost here every day, I just heard about it, but I feel like they need to do what they need to do to hire more guards to protect the inmates," said Nathan Bryant.

Nathan Bryant is a bondsman. Just about every day he comes to the Florence County Detention Center to bail people out, but he never knew of the security concerns looming behind these doors.

"You have to have people here that are going to be guarding these inmates. The officers put them in and were going to keep them in, it's our responsibility," said Joyce Brunson, Florence County Detention Center.

Captain Joyce Brunson she manages the day to day operations at the Detention Center. While she runs a tight ship, she says there are simply not enough guards to keep an eye on all the inmates that pass through here.

"And per South Carolina minimal standards we have to have a certain amount of officers per inmate," said Brunson.

Right now there are only 14 guards per shift, law states there should be 17.

"At 17 we will have enough guards to put some on transportation and add a couple more to every shift.  We have some units that should have two officers working in a unit," said Brunson.

To address these safety concerns county council voted to increase the cost of an inmate's daily stay from $36 to $56, but so far that extra $20 is only allowing the Detention Center to hire one guard.

Captain Brunson says she's glad county council is giving the Detention Center more funding because in the end it's all about one thing.

"We have to keep the inmates safe. We have to keep the officers safe and we have to keep the community safe; that's our responsibility," said Brunson.

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