Houston County's new jail administrator says employees and inmates will follow rules and procedures or face disciplinary action.
Major Alan Everidge started his new job this week, coming in on the heels of a controversy in which at least two deputies were fired for using a pressure washer on an inmate.
He explained why he wanted the position, and its challenges.
Everidge admits even the top job at the jail isn't glamorous.
He said, "The jail environment, yeah, it's tough. We don't have the best customers sometimes."
Everidge says it's a vital part of the justice system, and the only job at the Houston Sheriff's Office he hasn't tackled in his 25 years there, besides being sheriff.
He said, "Anytime you house as many inmates as we have and have as many employees as we have, there's going to be challenges that come along with that."
The most recent one focused around the "rubber room." Everidge said, "People are put in here that are a potential risk to themselves or others."
The sheriff said several jailers and their supervisors used a pressure washer to clean a mentally-ill inmate. Two of them were fired, and a third termination is pending.
It was a fair ruling according to Everidge.
He said, "We have an inmate handbook for the inmates to go by. If they don't go by it, there's disciplinary action for them. We have a policy manual for our staff to go by. We're going to go by policy set forth here, period."
He says a growing population of inmates with mental health issues or drug addictions creates a big challenge for the staff.
He said, "It's not our job to be judge and jury. It's our job to deal with an issue with an inmate in a humane manner."
Now, mentally-ill inmates live with the general population, but in a few years, Everidge says the county plans to build a separate pod for them.
It's a change he says will help ease that problem, while he searches for solutions for others.
Everidge said, "I'm here looking around right now. I can't say there's going to be wholesale changes in every category. Are there going to be some things we're going to modify? Probably."
Everidge applied for the job after Major Charles Holt retired in June.
The Houston County jail can house up to 666 inmates and employs 157 people.