Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade mayor names new chief for troubled jail system

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has appointed a new chief for the county’s troubled corrections and rehabilitation department.

Marydell Guevara, who has been the jail system’s interim director, will take on the role permanently. Former Director Tim Ryan retired in January after six years on the job.

“Moving forward, I am confident that Ms. Guevara will continue to lead the Department and its employees ensuring that the residents of Miami-Dade County live in a safe community,” Gimenez wrote Thursday in a memo to county commissioners.

Guevara’s career in the jail system began 31 years ago, the memo says. She’s been in management jobs since 1990, when she became a correctional sergeant after obtaining an associate degree from Miami Dade College, according to her résumé. In 2004, she became a deputy director, a year after graduating from Florida International University with a bachelor degree in criminal justice.

As deputy director, Guevara, 50, has been making about $160,000 a year.

The jail system, which is the nation’s eighth largest, has been dogged for decades by problems ranging from overcrowding to aging buildings. Federal authorities have been monitoring the department since the U.S. Department of Justice concluded a three-year investigation in 2011 that found inmates housed in deplorable and sometimes abusive conditions.

County records show the corrections department, which houses about 5,000 inmates, has more than 2,800 employees and an annual budget of about $300 million.