Employee blows whistle on Chesterfield assisted living facility - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Employee blows whistle on Chesterfield assisted living facility


An employee at Lucy Corr Village alleges convicts doing laundry at the facility are not properly supervised and are a potential danger to safety.

Facility officials say they investigated and took corrective measures.

The assisted living facility reimburses the Chesterfield Sheriff's department for deputies to supervise the work detail, but employee Vernon Brown says nobody's watching the inmates.

NBC12 videotaped the prisoner work detail leaving after laundry duty. One deputy watched over a small group of inmates arriving at  Lucy Corr around 8 a.m. and returned to the jail about 11 hours later.   

A lot goes on during that time in the laundry room, but a deputy sleeping on the job with his feet up isn't supposed to happen.

"He has no idea what the inmates are doing," said Brown. "The inmates were there. The five inmates were there while he was sleeping."

Brown says he recorded the sleeping deputy nearly two years ago and kept collecting more pictures to show negligent deputies on the computer, on the phone and inmates left unsupervised.

"You see the arm of an inmate. The inmate shouldn't be in the office with him. That's one inmate. We have four other inmates. Where are they? How can he watch them playing on the computer?" questions Brown, who says he repeatedly complained. "Inmates are supposed to be stripped search when they get back to the jail everyday. They weren't being stripped search properly."

Brown says he tried to make changes as laundry supervisor, but was eventually demoted and soon may not have a job.

"Nothing has happened. I've been removed. It just reverted back to the days before I got there," Brown continued. He says he wants to make families with loved ones at Lucy Corr aware. "If y'all only knew what those deputies were doing, you'd be afraid."

Families NBC12 talked with didn't even know inmates are washing residents' clothes.  The prisoner work detail is ok with them but, a sleeping deputy and allegations of lax supervision are troubling.

"Well see that's a breach of security right there. That should be a major concern," said DeCarlo Smith, whose mother is a resident.

"We do need to rehabilitate them and make them do something while they're in there," said Sarah Jordan, whose mother is also a resident. "I think it's good as long as they're supervised by somebody because they always come up with something."

Lucy Corr Communications Director Debra Marlow walked up as NBC12 was talking with families.

"They sound like serious breaches," said Marlow. "Yes, and we dealt with those in June."

Marlow says the Sheriff implemented additional training and is reemphasizing rules.

"We operate a safe environment. There is no access to residents on the part of inmates. They don't go in residential areas," she explained. "The laundry is in a separate building. We needed to have the Sheriff have tighter controls and we are satisfied that our residents are safe."

Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard would not talk on-camera, because he says an inmate made complaints against Brown and his office is investigating. He did say in an email the inmates are low risk, non-violent and carefully screened. He says the laundry detail is a chance for them to break the cycle of recidivism, become rehabilitated and contribute to society.  He says they are strip-searched before and after every shift at Lucy Corr.    

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