Members of a Lexington council committee got an update Tuesday on ongoing staffing challenges at the Fayette County Detention Center .
When current Community Corrections Director Steve Haney came onboard in 2016, there were 52 correctional officer vacancies. In less than a year, the vacancies were eliminated. But, Haney noted, “the stars aligned” for that to happen. This week vacancies stand in the mid 30’s. Haney said that leads to overtime which can be impacted by staffing for hospitalized inmates.
“Inmate hospitalizations started going up and I think that’s all in relation and directly attributed to partly the opioid epidemic and general substance abuse issues,” said Haney.
Haney said community corrections is initiating a mentorship program in hopes it will help with staff retention by addressing issues faced by new hires. “We’re going to start it with the sergeants because they are the first line supervisors that deal with our new staff on a daily basis. So, we will be assigning mentors and then we want this thing to grow. We’re starting out pretty slow with it,” explained Haney.
Eventually, Haney could foresee a new position to address wellness issues which can include both physical and mental stress.
WEKU's Stu Johnson spoke with Jailer Steve Haney following the council committee meeting about staffing challenges.