County Administrator Kenneth Wayne Jones told the Hinds County Board of Supervisors Tuesday Crisler was his choice to serve until a permanent replacement is hired, said Board President Credell Calhoun.
Crisler's appointment comes after the resignation of the center's former executive director, Fernandez Frazier. Staff at the juvenile center said Fraizer resigned Monday.
Crisler has experience from time as sheriff
Calhoun said Crisler's work in jails and his familiarity with the U.S. Department of Justice and its consent decree demanding improvement at the county's detention centers will come in handy as temporary executive director of the juvenile center.
"All of those are good things," Calhoun said.
The juvenile center is currently under its own consent decree stemming from a 2011 class action lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Disability Rights Mississippi accusing the center of subjecting youth offenders to periods of isolation, denying them mental health services and verbally abusing and threatening to harm youth.
The lawsuit led to a settlement agreement and a federal consent decree approved in 2012 to address issues raised in the lawsuit, according to court documents. The decree was amended in 2018 and extended through March 2023, according to Southern Poverty Law Center.
Calhoun said the Board of Supervisors doesn't need to vote on Crisler's appointment because it is a hiring decision under the purview of the county administrator.
Administrator Jones could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Crisler was appointed interim sheriff in August after the death of former Sheriff Lee Vance.
He served several months in the position and ran in a special election to finish Vance's term. Crisler and Tyree Jones made it to a runoff election in November, and Jones was elected with about 60% of the vote.
Crisler wrote in an email the appointment was effective Wednesday. He declined to comment about the appointment, citing county personnel policy that prevents him from speaking about his employment. Crisler referred comment to the county administrator.
Leadership turnover at detention facilities
Calhoun said Frazier was in the position for less than a year and he was unsure why Frazier chose to leave.
Efforts to reach Frazier were unsuccessful on Wednesday.
Calhoun said the county will advertise the executive director position.
"We have to get someone in right away," he said.
The Hinds County Detention Center, which houses adults, may see turnover in its leadership in February.
Jail Administrator Kathryn Bryan submitted a letter of resignation in November after several months on the job. She cited "a distinct lack of support" and called a directive from then-interim sheriff Crisler "reckless and dangerous," U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in a Nov. 23 order.
At the time, Bryan declined to comment about her resignation and the directive and Crisler did not respond to a request for comment.
Calhoun said Thursday Bryan's resignation is effective Feb. 28, but she can choose to stay if she feels she has the support and tools she needs to do her job.
Past and ongoing consent decrees for the county's detention centers
The county's detention centers are under the eye of Reeves, who in November gave the county three weeks to prove it can make the Hinds Detention Center safe or face federal takeover.
The decree is meant to address conditions including violence, structural deficiencies, chronic understaffing and poor management, and it includes a section about developing and implementing policies for youth offenders.
Hinds County submitted a response in December and asked the court to give it until July to fix the problems.
Reporter Mina Corpuz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Marshand Crisler appointed interim director of youth detention center