Criminal justice students visit Spartanburg County Detention Center

Criminal justice students visit Spartanburg County Detention Center

Thirteen criminal justice students went to jail last week—for an academic tour that is. SMC students currently enrolled in the Fall 2018 Corrections course completed a tour of the Spartanburg County Detention Center as part of their class experience. Beyond the tour, however, students conducted an hour-long Q&A session with correctional administrators and current inmates. According to Deputy Amanda Scealf, Programs and Facilities Coordinator for the jail, this was the first time in the history of the detention center that a professional and academic Q&A was set up between employees, inmates, and a local college. Furthermore, students were able to participate in an actual disciplinary hearing inside the jail—another first for the Spartanburg County Detention Center.

“This was an opportunity for our students to cumulatively apply all they have learned but outside of a traditional classroom and classroom assessment instrument,” said Dr. Brian Kinnair, Professor of Criminal Justice and the Corrections course instructor. “I was pleased with our students, the quality of their questions, and how they professionally represented SMC,” he said. Kinnaird, who is a former detention officer and jailer himself, knows first-hand the challenges and opportunities of incarceration and brings both theory and practice to the classroom.

During their tour, students were treated to a demonstration of jail-specific, non-lethal weapons and munitions by the SOG team (Special Operations Group), a full-time tactical team dedicated to the safety and security of inmates and employees.

Sophomore criminal justice major Jordan Scovel explained, “I thought it was really interesting to see a cell block area with different colors to show stages and steps as sanctions to bad behavior. It showed exactly what we had discussed in class about the different steps to getting ‘back’ to a general population area.”

The Spartanburg County Detention Facility provides for the secure detention of those individuals who have been arrested and accused of committing a crime in Spartanburg County and/or who have been tried and found guilty and been sentenced by the court to a term of confinement of 90 days or less. The facility also provides safety and security for the Spartanburg County Courthouse and the Spartanburg County Administrative Offices. There are currently 805 inmates incarcerated and the jail has an annual budget and expenditure of nearly 13 million dollars.

First Row-Front (from L to R): Brandon Southern, Jessi Stanley, Amanda Griswold, Dr. Brian Kinnaird.

Second Row-Back (from L to R): Spencer Edwards, Jordan Scovel, Patrick Starosto, Ward Hacklen, Javell Mallory, Deputy Amanda Scealf, Investigator Steven Cox, Gerald Buncum, LaTavia Richardson, Kiara Briggs, Lainey Sigafoos, Harley Getsinger.