New jail superintendent starts soon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Western Tidewater Regional Jail will have a new superintendent in place as of Dec. 16, when Jeffrey L. Newton moves into the office occupied by retiring Administrator J.R. &uot;Jack&uot; Dewan, who served the 630-inmate facility since its inception in 1991. The jail serves Franklin and Isle of Wight County along with Suffolk.

Newton serves as the jail administrator for the largest county jail in Maine, the Cumberland County Jail. Since 1996, Newton has managed 190 sworn civilian personnel and the 486 bed county jail with no prison escapes.

A native of New England, Newton grew up in Vermont and lives with his wife, Rebecca, in Sebago, Maine. The couple has three children, Christopher, 21; Jessica, 19; and Sarah, 17, a senior in high school. She plans to graduate with classmates at the school she has attended for almost seven years before joining her family in Suffolk.

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Newton’s wife is a native of Bath County, Va., and he also resided in the Commonwealth while earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Law Enforcement, graduating in 1980 from Virginia Commonwealth University. He also earned a Master’s degree in Education and Human Resources from Boston University in 1990.

As the new jailer, Newton has already established his own philosophy when it comes to running a jail.

&uot;Jails are kind of a mystery to the public in that they don’t understand what goes on inside,&uot; said Newton. &uot;They don’t understand what motivates people to work there. I’ve always tried to educate people about what goes on in a jail. Bad things don’t necessarily happen there and people shouldn’t be afraid of the jail. One of my missions will be to educate the public on what really happens inside the jail. We’re going to have an open philosophy and we’re going to be servants to the public.&uot;

Newton has a long list of accomplishments at the Cumberland County Jail including; it was the first correctional facility in Maine to be accredited by the American Correctional Association. The jail was also first in developing and directing the implementation of the first and only correctional Master Correction Officer program in Maine, and also in redesigning the program staff personnel structure, saving more than $300,000 a year in personnel costs while increasing the number of inmate programs being delivered. Under Newton’s direction, the jail was also responsible for designing and implementing the first Correction Officer Skill Competition in 2001.

Prior to his position as jail administrator, Newton served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He served as an operations officer for the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Ks.; Deputy Police Chief, 3rd Infantry Division, Europe; Chief of Personal Security, U.S. Army Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium; Operations Officer at Fort Gordon, Ga.; and Jail Commander in Korea.

Newton has been dedicated to community service and his volunteer efforts have included service on the committee that redrafted the Maine Department of Corrections Standards of Operations of Jails in Maine, to be published in Spring 2003. He also served two terms, 1997-1998 and 1999-2000, as Secretary of the Main Jail Association, and he was president of the Spaulding Memorial Library in Sebago, Maine from 1997-1999. He was the chairman of the HIV in Corrections Conference in 1997-1998, and he is a member of the American Correctional Association, the American Jail Association and the Maine Sheriff’s and Jail Associations.