Officials make changes to hiring procedures after incidents

Officials make changes to hiring procedures after incidents

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A series of incidents involving guards at the White River Juvenile Detention Center in Independence County in recent years has officials there looking at revamping their hiring policies in light of the problems.

Independence County Judge Robert Griffin said officials are working to make sure that nothing happens again. A guard was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of sexually abusing a 17-year-old inmate, while two former detention supervisors pleaded guilty in April 2017 in federal court to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates.

Also, jailer Josh Heath was arrested on suspicion of furnishing prohibited articles into a correctional facility earlier this year after a report about a Facebook Live stream being discovered in the detention center, officials recently said.

Griffin told Region 8 News that in each situation, the employees were terminated as soon as he found out about the wrongdoing. Griffin also said each background check must be approved by his office and that officials are also double checking the information through documentation or certificates.

"We have a copy of that provided, along with drug tests and all the things so we are continuing to step it up and trying to make sure we are protecting the kids," Griffin said.

Each complaint filed against the center will be investigated, Griffin said, noting authorities have installed cameras throughout the center as well. 

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