LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new director is taking charge of Louisville Metro Corrections.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced that former Corrections employee Dewayne Clark has accepted the job. He takes over on Aug. 1.
"Dwayne inherits a special team of really professional men and women," Fischer said. "I'm really confident that Dwayne Clark is the right person to lead this team."
Clark was hired at LMDC in 2004. For the last 10 years, he worked as the chief of staff from 2009 to 2019 for retiring director Mark Bolton. As chief of staff, Clark was responsible for jail operations and security and filled in as director,when Bolton was away.
"He is a dedicated corrections professional with a heart as big as this city," Fischer said of Clark.
Between his time first in Illinois and then in Louisville, Clark has 40 years of corrections experience. He said he agreed to come back, because he missed it.
"I missed working with the people," Clark said. "Making a difference. I believe in what I do, and I believe what I do makes a difference."
He said the jail is already working hard to not just house but help inmates. He pointed to the detox, mental health and job programs. And he said those will continue to improve.
"It's very important not to just warehouse people, but to give them the tools, the opportunity to change their lifestyle to be a more successful person in the community," he said.
He also said it will be a top priority under his leadership to improve recruitment and retention of officers to create a "steady, stable staff." He said a solid workforce means a safer jail.
An employee committee was recently created to look at some recruitment and retention issues facing the jail. Clark said he plans to use some of their suggestions to develop a plan for the future.
One strategy he wants to use is to team up with LMPD.
"If their recruits find out this may not be what they want to do, police work," explained Clark, "then we'll contact them to see if they would like to try us."
He said the jail will work with the recruit to transfer him or her into the jail's academy, if that will be a better fit for them. Assistant Director Steve Durham said the department just recently tried this and plans to do it more often.
As the press conference ended Friday, Clark had a clear message to the Louisville community when it comes to the future of the jail.
"We care about the people that we're in charge of," he said. "And we want to release them in a better shape than what they came in."
Bolton is currently taking vacation time that he earned during his 10 years of being the director. Deputy Director Eric Troutman was named the Acting Director at the beginning of June. Troutman will continue to operate the jail until Clark takes over August 1.
Bolton was originally appointed by former Mayor Jerry Abramson. He has had led the jail through a series of turbulent years, highlighted by its battles with overcrowding, rising drug arrests and numerous other problems. In 2017, 87 percent of Fraternal Order of Police members who voted said they had no confidence in Bolton.
At various times over the last few years, the jail has far surpassed its capacity of 1,800, prompting Bolton to move inmates to the 1950s-era jail above LMPD Headquarters. The overcrowding had several residual effects, including plumbing problems, extra overtime for workers, an influx of drugs smuggled inside and violence.
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