Brown Co. Detention Center closed amidst doors, locks malfunctio - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Brown Co. Detention Center closed amidst doors, locks malfunction

(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/File) (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/File)
BROWN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

Several employees at the Brown County Detention Center will soon be without jobs.

That's because the jail is closed amid growing concerns about malfunctioning locks on doors, some of them on cells and other prisoner common areas.

The inmates have been sent to Butler County, and without them in their cells in Georgetown, there is little work, so some employees are being laid off.

"We're just out of work, pretty much, right now," said Brooke Burns, a corrections officer who is getting laid off.

The jail closed for business late last week until the necessary repairs are made.  

"There's just always been band-aid fixes or temporary fixes.  It's something that's been needed for a long time," Burns acknowledged.

Burns has worked as a corrections officer at the jail for two years.  She will soon be one of the ones out of work.

"It's definitely rough being here two years, and then when I first started being like, 'This is my career that I wanted to go in.  This is what I went to school for,' to being like, 'Well, you're laid off," Burns told FOX19 NOW.

She found out for sure earlier this week that she would be laid off.  

On Friday, Brown County Chief Deputy Carl Smith told FOX19 NOW that as many as ten workers would be laid off by early December.

"I'm a single parent with a 3-year old, and it's like it all hit right before the holidays.  That's going to put a damper on a lot of things," Burns said.

Burns tells FOX19 NOW herself, and coworkers, are looking for other work to bridge the gap AND make ends meet in the meantime.

Weeks ago, a grievance was filed over unsafe working conditions at the jail.

"On male block, we've had them open their own doors because their doors jam and they couldn't get out, or it was stuck and we've had to have another inmate push the door to where it would lock completely," Burns said.

Last Thursday, echoing Burns' concerns, Chief Deputy Smith said, "These doors will not shut sometimes or they won't stay locked.  If the inmates get in there and push the door hard enough, they'll come open."

When the jail closed, county commissioner Barry Woodruff told FOX19 NOW it's expected to possibly cost around $1 million for the work once bids are submitted.  He expects the work to last from 60 to 90 days.  

For Burns, she understands the need for the layoffs.  She says she hopes to be able to come back to her job at the jail once the repair work on the doors and locks is finished.

"Our safety comes before anything here, and it's just it's got to be done, but it should have been taken care of a long time ago," she told FOX19 NOW.

Laid off employees will be paid for 21 days, and can then file for unemployment.  From there, they have a 2-year recall right in their contracts to be able to return to their jobs.

As for the inmates, they are in Butler County at the jail there.  Chief Deputy Smith says it's costing about $60 a day per inmate to house them there until they can come back to Brown County.

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