The head of security at the problem-plagued Prince George's County Correctional Center was relieved of his duties yesterday, county officials said, in the first of several management changes expected at the seven-month-old jail.

Col. Guy P. Smith, a veteran employe of the Corrections Department, was told in a letter late yesterday afternoon that he had been relieved of his job responsibilities and not to report to work today, said Tim Ayers, a spokesman for County Executive Parris Glendening.

The personnel action, which Smith can appeal, came about in connection with the county's ongoing investigation into several problems at the center, which has experienced three escapes since it opened in late February.

In one escape on May 26, two inmates scaled a recreation yard wall and pried fencing away from the building to escape from the facility on Dille Drive outside of Upper Marlboro. Three months later, four inmates used an almost identical route, and one of them escaped. All of the inmates were captured.

A U.S. Justice Department report on the jail was harshly critical of the department's Bureau of Security, which Smith headed. The report said that the center had no system for conducting and documenting routine security checks, a procedure that could have prevented the escapes.

Smith, who lives in Upper Marlboro, could not be reached for comment.

Glendening, who asked for the Justice Department study after the Aug. 26 escape, has said that the Corrections Department had serious management problems and had indicated that management changes were inevitable.

Two county government sources familiar with the ongoing investigation into the escapes and staff review of corrections personnel said that similar actions are likely against other top- and mid-level managers.

In a related action, officials announced that Maj. Milton Crump, commander of management services for the Prince George's County police, has been named acting deputy director for the Department of Corrections.

In his new position, Crump, 42, a 21-year member of the police force, will be in charge of fiscal affairs, personnel, records and support services for the Corrections Department.

Crump's position was created in the aftermath of the Justice Department report. Crump will start his new job Monday.

James Robertson, currently the single deputy director in the department, will be in charge of security and program services, a county spokeswoman said. Robertson also will assume Smith's duties as head of security.