Officials with the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ) announced the dismissal of a correctional officer this week in connection with allegations of theft.
Shaki Franklin-Johnson, 26, of Irmo, S.C. was fired by the agency after allegedly removing $670 “from a secured location where the personal property of detained youth is stored,” a news release from the agency noted.
According to a probable cause affidavit accompanying the warrants for her arrest, Franklin-Johnson “knowingly and willfully (took) monetary property of a juvenile” on or about Sunday, September 24, 2023. She allegedly did so “without the consent of the owner with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.”
Video surveillance and witnesses confirmed the theft, according to the news release.
Franklin-Johnson surrendered to the agency’s criminal investigator on Tuesday afternoon (October 3, 2023) and was transported to the Alvin S. Glenn detention center where she was booked on charges of petit larceny and misconduct in office.
Magistrate Patience Van Ellis issued her a $2,125 personal recognizance bond. No date has been set for her court appearance. Barring any conflicts, the case against Franklin-Johnson will be tried by the office of S.C. fifth circuit solicitor Byron Gipson.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Franklin-Johnson is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as she may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against her.
Both SCDJJ and the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) have struggled mightily with misconduct among officers – especially in the era of contraband cell phones and gang infiltration. Recruiting and retaining guards who won’t steal or take bribes has proven particularly problematic.
“(SCDJJ) has been significantly understaffed for years,” a consultant assisting the agency recently told us.
SCDJJ was an unmitigated disaster for years under its prior director, Freddie Pough, who was hand-picked by governor Henry McMaster in 2017 to turn this troubled agency around. Instead, Pough accelerated its collapse – leaving juvenile inmates effectively in charge of its main facility.
Pough resigned as SCDJJ director in September 2021 – ten days after I lambasted SCDJJ for its culture of secrecy related to the rising violence “behind the fence.” Significant progress has been made at the agency in recent years under its new director, Eden Hendrick.
THE WARRANTS …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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