Jackson County's director of the Department of Corrections resig - KCTV5

Jackson County's director of the Department of Corrections resigns

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The director of the department of corrections for Jackson County has resigned. (KCTV5) The director of the department of corrections for Jackson County has resigned. (KCTV5)
Diana Turner will serve as the acting director of corrections. (Jackson County) Diana Turner will serve as the acting director of corrections. (Jackson County)
Capt. Isaac Johnston will step in as the acting deputy director of corrections. (Jackson County) Capt. Isaac Johnston will step in as the acting deputy director of corrections. (Jackson County)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The director of the Department of Corrections for Jackson County has resigned.

Joe Piccinini was appointed to serve as the director of corrections by former County Executive Mike Sanders in December 2015. Prior to that, he served as the chief of police for the Lee’s Summit Police Department, where he spent more than 30 years cultivating a career of public service by working up the departmental ranks.

“I am grateful for Joe’s service to Jackson County and the Department of Corrections. He accepted responsibility of our operations in the midst of an ongoing FBI investigation, with staff making a starting wage 38% below the market rate and what we would later learn, a facility in need of $150 million in repairs,” Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said. “But, at this point, Joe does not want to be a distraction because his priority is to fix the problem and ensure our corrections facility reaches the level of excellence our staff, inmates and community deserve. I respect his judgement and regretfully accept his resignation.”

Piccinini also helped oversee significant improvements and operations of the Jackson County Detention Center. Improvements included significant infrastructure repairs, improved training for corrections officers and increasing corrections officers’ wages.

“I’ve been honored to serve Jackson County during a critical time of change for one of its most essential functions,” Piccinini said. “I commend the County Executive for his steadfast leadership to get things done. I couldn’t be more proud to work with men and women who have made great sacrifices in the name of progress for the betterment of our community.”

Diana Turner will serve as the acting director of corrections as a nationwide search for a permanent director is expected to begin next week. She became the deputy director two months ago. She most recently served as director of residential services for the Jackson County Family Court. 

She has 26 years in corrections and said she's aware of the challenges ahead of her. 

“I’ve had lots of tough jobs," she said. "It’s just that this is the first one that I have encountered that has this kind of staffing shortage, is this overpopulated, and has this very tough situation dealing with at the community level.”

Right now, the jail is short 41 corrections officers, which is not including several openings at the lieutenant level. 

Turner said the jail was only meant for 550 to 600 inmates and that it's nearly 100 percent over-capacity. 

Capt. Isaac Johnston will step in as the acting deputy director of corrections. His public safety career includes serving as the warden of two facilities, including the Leavenworth Detention Center, which houses maximum-security inmates. The other was a Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C.

“Diana and Isaac, combined, have more than 50 years of experience in corrections,” White said. “Both work hard to form relationships with staff and inmates to establish a culture of respect. I have complete confidence in their ability to be effective leaders, while we conduct a nationwide search for a new director.”

At the press conference announcing these things on Friday, it was also noted that the corrections officer who was beaten by an inmate on Thanksgiving day has been released from the hospital and is recovering. 

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