Clarion jail warden tells board staffing remains a problem

Staffing at the Clarion County jail remains a problem.

Warden Darren Knox said at Friday’s monthly jail board meeting there have been 10 resignations since the end of October and seven hires.

“We are not replacing at the same rate we are losing,” Knox said.

He added that another concern is the inexperience of the workers, particularly on the night shift.

Knox said he is tackling that problem several different ways.

“We are being very proactive. The Human Resources Department is not sitting on applications and we interview them very quickly because we have found that the people coming in have applied at multiple places,” Knox said.

He added that making the situation more complicated is the need to train the new corrections officers. He said 10 officers need to attend an academy in Elizabethtown, and the four-week course costs the county $400 and includes food and lodging.

“What that means is that when they are at the academy, that is 14 full-time spots on the schedule that have to be filled,” Knox said. “It does push up the need for overtime.”

In another matter at Friday’s meeting, Knox presented some information regarding a mobile X-ray service that would visit the jail to take X-rays as needed.

“Instead of sending an inmate out for the service, you can bring the service into the jail which would eliminate transporting the inmate requiring two officers,” Knox said.

Knox said he had done some research on several providers in the area and found PMX to be the best option for Clarion County.

Knox said an X-ray is scheduled only on the recommendation of the jail’s medical staff. He added that four inmates were taken to local facilities for X-ray services and one for an ultrasound in January.

Knox said PMX is staffed in the area and services other facilities. He said that pending staffing, PMX could make emergency visits.

The board gave Knox permission to explore a contract with PMX, which must be approved by the board and county commissioners.

The jail board reorganized Friday and elected county commissioner Braxton White as chairman, county commissioner Wayne Brosius as vice chair and county treasurer Karyn Montana as secretary.

The board went into an executive session and took no action.