Hart County Board of Commissioners Working on Whitworth Labor Issue

January 28, 2013

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia


Whitworth Detention Center is transitioning from an all male detention center to an all female prison.

The transition began this week.

Hart County Administrator Jon Caime said Wednesday, the cost to the county to replace the male prison workers with full-time employees would be about $350,000.

“The net impact could be as high as $400,000 but we’re looking at ways to reduce that,” Caime said. “We’re still not sure what’s going to be proposed by Whitworth. We’re hearing that the transition to all female detainees is not going to impact the services that come out of Whitworth.”

Hart County uses prison crews in the Maintenance, Recreation, Water, and Road departments, as well as for general maintenance.

The City of Royston and Rabun County have said they will use female workers from Whitworth.  However, the City of Lavonia said they will not.

Caime said the county is open to female prisoners replacing the male prison workers but it presents a whole new set of issues that would have to be worked out.

“I know there’s been some concern by some all-male departments about putting female detainees in the mix,” Caime said. “If that is the case, and we do have the ability to use those resources, then we’ll look at putting in policies and procedures to make sure our employees are protected and everything can work as best as possible.”

At the work session, the board of commissioners also plans to discuss funding for the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter, and the hiring of two full-time employees for the Hart County Tax Assessor’s office.