A third of the guards who used to work at Hernando County Jail when it was operated by CCA were immediately disqualified from Sheriff Richard Nugent's hiring process. The Sheriff has recently taken over operations of the facility, and thankfully is looking for better-qualified officers to staff it with. I've written before about this jail and CCA's shadily baking out of its contract after a bunch of serious maintenance issues were uncovered; but given the level of professional excellence of the people who worked there, I can't say I'm that surprised by the fact that it fell into such disrepair. The most recently-rejected candidates were disqualified for things such as acting as an intermediary in drug deals, and admitting to taking "a variety of substances in the past, ranging from marijuana and cocaine to mushrooms and a veterinary anesthetic." Now I know people make some dumb choices in life and I'm willing to chalk up a lot of drug use to that, but a veterinary anesthetic?
I am completely in favor of Sheriff Nugent taking over operations of the jail, especially when he says things like ""If they're going to wear my badge and work for me ... the corrections staff will handle inmates and the public professionally." But one thing I find troublesome is that he says he will have the exact same number of guards watching the prisoners as were there before, and claims that this will put no one at risk. What the Sheriff may not realize is that CCA chronically understaffs their facilities, so I hope he analyzes his need for COs based on the inmate population and security concerns, rather than just copying what CCA does. Given their track record, including their failure to even adequately maintain this jail, I think the Sheriff would be wise to steer clear of just aping CCA's incompetence.