Corrections & Clarifications

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Thirty new corrections officers are helping to fill shortages at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

Our guys get burned out really quick,” said Director of Detention, Wayne Owens. “It’s a long 12 hours dealing with the nature of people we deal with.”

Owens said last year the jail averaged about 640 inmates at a time, but numbers have been as high as 800 this year. The 30 new corrections officers will fill gaps left after sixty officers left the detention center in the last nine months.

“It will definitely help with staff burnout,” said Owens. “Also will help with a great deal of overtime.”
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Last year the detention center paid around $740,000 in overtime.

“We have some mandatory overtime, we have some voluntary overtime. These 30 new hires will help definitely with burnout of the staff,” said Owens.

Detention center staff try to keep up with vacancies by hiring new officers every 2-3 months. Owens said keeping vacancies full helps protect Horry County by getting more eyes on the inmates.

“We have some guys and girls who aren’t the best in Horry County,” he added. “Hiring corrections officers to maintain our adequate numbers, it helps out everyone.”

Owens said turnover is common in most law enforcement agencies. Ten of the people who left the department last year moved up to local agencies like the Horry County Police Department, Conway Police Department or Surfside Beach Police Department.

“When we hire people we hope they would stay the whole 25 years but we know that’s not reality,” said Owens.

Filling the vacancies with these 30 new hires is one step the detention center is taking to bring better service.

“They’re energetic,” Owens said about the new hires. “They are looking forward to working at J. Reuben Long… we just hope we can keep that positivity going.”

There are 13 vacancies in the department but efforts to recruit more corrections officers are happening now.


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