Under state law, whenever an inmate makes an allegation against an officer, the officer is suspended without pay pending the result of an official investigation.
If the officers are cleared, they are given back pay to cover their time off. But DeLong said they can wait up to a month for a decision.
"We've had instances where we've had correctional officers that were cleared, and they got their back pay, but on the time they were on suspension they were pawning off some of their belongings to make their bills," he said.
"We starve them out, which just isn't fair to these folks."
DeLong said he wants to work with lawmakers to develop a system that gives more flexibility to deal with paying people on suspension.
In one scenario, DeLong said they could use money from a potential 15-day severance check to put officers on a suspension with pay.
"If we have someone that's suspended, we can pay them for up to 15 days during that suspension," he said. "However, if that ultimately results in a termination, then that 15 days is what's counted toward their severance."
"It's not costing us any more, but it's just giving us the ability to not starve those out who haven't done anything wrong," DeLong said. "It's going to be more fair to our staff."
The Regional Jail Authority has had a problem staffing jails in recent years. Earlier this year, staff vacancy rates were as high as 12 percent.
By implementing new schedules that cut down on mandatory overtime, officials have brought staff vacancies down. However, wrongful allegations brought by inmates still drive officers to other jobs.
DeLong said dealing with wrongdoers while treating good officers more fairly could improve employee morale and keep good officers on the job.
"We have a lot of wonderful, hard-working, dedicated correctional officers, and I don't like seeing their reputation damaged because of a very few," he said. "We're going to work very hard to try to eliminate the very few problems we have out there."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.