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Jailer resigned for mistreating inmates

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A former Carroll County jailer repeatedly mistreated jail inmates — which included forcing one to sleep in feces — and resigned under the threat of termination this summer, according to state records.

Jill R. Johnson worked at the county jail for more than five years starting in April 2014. She resigned in June 2019, and some of the misconduct that led to her resignation is detailed in a judge’s ruling that denied her unemployment insurance benefits.

Johnson first was suspended in April 2017 for five days, in part for raising her middle fingers at an inmate while the inmate was talking with a visitor, according to the judge’s ruling.

“She made disparaging comments to the inmate about his visitor and commented on their relationship,” the judge wrote. “She also berated the visitor about her life decisions.”

Johnson previously had been counseled more than once about her interactions with inmates.

Then in February 2019, an inmate told Johnson he had soiled his pants and asked for clean pants and a towel. Johnson “denied his request, and he was required to sleep in fecal matter that night,” the judge wrote.

The inmate filed a grievance about the incident, and Johnson was told by a superior that her conduct was “unacceptable and should never happen again,” the judge wrote.

The final incident detailed by the judge involved a Michigan man who sped through Carroll while being chased by a police officer and caused a severe head-on crash on U.S. Highway 30 this past June.

The man — who now is serving a prison sentence of up to 15 years — was jailed after being treated at a hospital for injuries in the crash. He was held under suicide watch and asked Johnson for something to help clean up some of his wounds.

Johnson “gave him Clorox wipes instead of (a) paper towel or first aid supplies,” the judge wrote.

When Sheriff Ken Pingrey — who has ultimate authority over the jail — learned of the incident, he inspected the Clorox container and found that the wipes were “not intended for use on humans,” the judge wrote.

“Pingrey determined that (Johnson) had too many potential issues of improper treatment of the inmates and needed to be discharged,” the judge wrote. “The following day, Pingrey gave the claimant the option of resigning in lieu of termination, which she accepted.”

Johnson could not be reached to comment for this article.

Pingrey confirmed to the Times Herald that Johnson resigned in lieu of termination because she had violated jail policies.

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