DOC Commissioner Brian Owens announced Wednesday that Rick Jacobs, a former Rome police officer and Rome native, is the new warden of Hays State Prison.
The change came after an inmate being transferred from the facility died when he was stabbed to death by another inmate at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials said Pippa Lamont Hall-Jackson, 19, was killed Tuesday after he was taken to the Central Georgia facility. Hall-Jackson was serving a 20-year sentence for aggravated assault in Dekalb County.
No charges have been filed, but GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said she anticipates warrants being issued within a couple of days.
Jacobs’ appointment is one of the ways state lawmakers and the DOC are trying to solve the problems that have been occurring at the close security facility.
Three other Hays State inmates have been killed in the last two months. And two correctional officers who work at the facility were assaulted by inmates on Jan. 27, receiving minor injuries.
“Our office is working closely with the Department during the transition of management at Hays State Prison,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “We will continue to work alongside the agency until the transition is complete.”
State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said he knows replacing the warden alone is not going to solve all of the issues at Hays.
“Rick has many years of experience … and is certainly going to have a challenge,” said Hufstetler, a former Floyd County commissioner and vice chairman of the Senate state and local government operations committee.
“He’s got a lot of issues there to deal with, and we want to provide him with all of the help we can,” Hufstetler said.
Jacobs was the warden at Hays State from January to July 2010 before being named north area field operations manager for the Department of Corrections. Clay Tatum, the warden since July 2010, is pending reassignment within the department, according to DOC spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan.
“I look forward to Rick Jacobs coming back and taking over Hays,” Hufstetler said. “My recollection is, Hays was very well-run under his leadership.”
As acting warden, Jacobs will be responsible for overseeing approximately 350 staff members and approximately 1,460 male inmates.
“Rick is an exceptional leader and dedicated team member,” said Owens. “He has an extensive knowledge of corrections and I am confident that his leadership skills will benefit the staff and offenders of Hays State Prison,”
Hufstetler said he is planning to meet with DOC officials again today to discuss how to deal with other security issues at the facility.
Inmate Nathaniel Reynolds, 30, died Jan. 18. Two other inmates were charged with his murder. Damien McClain was killed in a fight in a prison cell on Dec. 26, 2012, and Derrick Stubbs was found dead while in protective custody four days earlier.
Hays State Prison houses male offenders with behavioral problems that cannot be addressed at other prisons and Mental Health Level II offenders.
Staff Writer Kim Sloan contributed to this report.
A fourth inmate from Hays State Prison died Tuesday at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, the Georgia Department of Corrections has confirmed.
The GBI has been called in to investigate and calls have been made to GBI spokesman John Bankhead.
The Chattanooga Times-Free Press is reporting the inmate was transferring to another prison and was killed by another Hays prison inmate.
Three other Hays State inmates have been killed recently. Nathaniel Reynolds, 30, died Jan. 18. Two men have been charged with his murder. Damien McClain was killed in a fight in a prison cell on Dec. 26, and Derrick Stubbs was found dead while in protective custody on Dec. 22.
Hays State Prison is a close security facility in Trion that houses male offenders with behavioral problems that cannot be addressed at other prisons and Mental Health Level II offenders.