WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County has named Steven Stonehouse as the permanent director for the Sedgwick County Department of Corrections (SCDOC).

The county says he has served with SCDOC for 24 years and as a deputy director for the department since 2013.

Stonehouse says he has several challenges ahead but praised the Board of County Commissioners for raising pay for critical staff members to recruit and retain employees.

“The future is going to be a lot of work. It’s not an impossible position, but I know that the staff that we have are the best in the state,” he said. “We had so many challenges with the pandemic, with staffing, with pay, with turnover. I think we are starting to come out of that, and people are starting to get energized again.”

As for addressing Cedric Lofton’s death, Stonehouse plans to implement the community task force’s options.

“This is something we started working on before the task force was formed, and we look forward to reporting out to the task force in August exactly what we have accomplished and the time frames they have given us,” Stonehouse said. “The majority of the policy recommendations have already been written and are in various levels of approval, and the Board of County Commissioners have approved a contract with a new medical provider to have 24-hour nursing care and expand mental health services at JIAC.”

He said the new contractors would be on-site beginning August 25. Work is also underway on a new security camera system for the center to include audio.

Before joining Sedgwick County, Stonehouse had four years of work experience with New Horizons and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Service (now known as DCF). He has a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in public administration, currently serves on the Kansas Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee, is the juvenile detention alternatives coordinator for Sedgwick County, and is a member of the Crossover Youth Practice Model committee in Sedgwick County.