The Detention Facility is under the direction of Captain Wesley Lynch.
Lt. Emmit Tate is responsible for Medical, Food Service, Training, and related Health and Safety Issues.
Size and Scope
The Detention Facility is a four-story, 146,000 sq ft., 540 bed facility open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Detention Facility houses persons arrested by area Law Enforcement Agencies, which include the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, Dalton Police Department, Tunnel Hill Police Department, Cohutta Police Department, Varnell Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, G.B.I., F.B.I., and the occasional Federal Agency.
The Correctional Center serves 3 meals a day to an average of approximately 400 inmates, which totals approximately 438,000 meals per year. Contract food service workers, as well as inmate labor, are utilized to meet this need. During the course of a regular day, breakfast and lunch are served hot the while the evening meal consists of sandwiches. All menus meet or exceed all of the daily requirements of calorie intake and special meals are provided upon request for persons with medical conditions or religious preference.
There are a total of 85 staff members in the Detention Division. This number includes nurses, detention officers, inmate work supervisors, central control staff, commissary staff, administrative staff, and the county inmate work crew.
The Correctional Center also maintains its own medical staff consisting of three nurses and a physician assistant who stays in contact with the physician on a daily basis, with visits from the physician on a weekly basis.
The Detention Division allows inmates to assist in the upkeep of the facility as well as providing services to other inmates and the citizens of Whitfield County. This workforce is composed entirely of volunteers and presents many opportunities for inmates to be active and give back to their community. These inmates may perform work functions in the Kitchen, Laundry, Runarounds (Internal Inmate General Labor), or Inmate Work Crew (Outside Inmate General Labor). The inmates who work in these details are all hired through a security and medical background process conducted by Inmate Work Crew Personnel.
The use of inmate labor results in drastic reductions in facility costs as well as reducing the costs of county government. Internal use of inmate labor alone accounts for over 60,000 hours of free labor per year. Outside work details including mowing landscaping and mowing county property as well as providing manual labor for many projects in the community including work on the Miracle Field, cleanup and safety projects at local schools, as well as providing basic maintenance services at the jail, 911 Center, Courthouse, and other locations. The inmate work crew has provided well over 10,000 free man-hours on county projects in 2013 alone, while only utilizing approximately 1,200 man-hours of employee time.
Outside Work Details are conducted on a regular basis, particularly during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall. These details include mowing around government buildings, removing trash from county roads, Graffiti removal, setting up and removing voting booths, and placing flags out for civic events, among other tasks. In the last few years, Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office inmate work crews removed hundreds of thousands of pounds of refuse from county roadways. In addition, the outside Work Crew has assisted the United Way, Boys and Girls Club, the Green House, the Dalton National Guard Armory, Dalton Police Academy, provided labor for food drives, serviced the local schools, and assisted in servicing the Fair Grounds during the past year.
Also falling under the supervision of the Detention Facility is the Central Control Section. In this area is where the public goes to obtain information about any family members who are incarcerated, to get approval for bonds, answering and directing all phone calls coming into the Sheriff’s Office, controlling the security of the Detention Facility by maintaining the control panels which allows persons thru all secured doors in the facility, operations of the Georgia Crime Information Center / National Crime Information Center and to greet the public and to help them in any way possible.
The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office 287(G) program began in the spring of 2008 due to increased public demands for immigration enforcement reform and public support for increased cooperation between this Office and ICE. This program progressed due to the support of the citizens of Whitfield County and at the request of Sheriff Scott Chitwood. From the beginning, the goals of this unit have been to serve the community by removing dangerous criminal aliens, improving communication and cooperation with federal agencies, and utilizing currently available resources available to best accomplish these tasks. The past year has seen the successful use of this program, which has benefitted the community by the removal of dangerous criminal aliens and removing the burden on the taxpayers by releasing these individuals to their home nations, instead of maintaining aliens in state custody. This program operates based on a series of reviews and background checks completed after an inmate is arrested for an Offense under Georgia Law. These inmates are processed through a system of background systems and biometric checks that are unavailable to Local Law Enforcement who are not involved in the DHS/ICE 287(g) program. This process has been successful in identifying individuals using false identifications as well as local and federal fugitives from Justice that would not have otherwise been identified.
The Detention Facility provides services and has certain expectations for inmates in custody. Many of these are outlined in the inmate handbook, available here: Inmate Handbook
Visitation is conducted by video conference equipment found both onsite and at jailatm.com. Individuals may visit onsite or pay a nominal fee to visit by video at home. This process is a benefit to many inmates, and families, in order to facilitate communications during difficult times. Visitation is subject to regulations and requirements of policy and the law. Visitation policy and information can be found here:
Individuals interested in a career with the Sheriff’s Office are asked to apply online at the Whitfield County Commissioner’s Website: http://www.whitfieldcountyga.com and click the Employment Opportunities Button.