Jail expansion a longshot

By Chris Cooper - ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

With the increase of state classified inmates at the Logan County Detention Center, room is beginning to be scarce as the jail is just about at its capacity with close to 180 residents. Of course the numbers fluctuate depending on crime, release and bringing in inmates from other facilities.

A state inmate is someone who has been sentenced and is serving out their time. The Commonwealth pays for a larger percentage of what it costs to house them in the county jail. This is a revenue builder for the jail and has generated over $1,170,000 over the past fiscal year. Unfortunately, there is not much room to go from here.

Magistrate Dickie Carter believes adding onto the jail may be a needed relief for the inmates, while allowing for additional growth. His idea of building a pole barn or some type of structure to house Class D felons fell flat, as fellow magistrates voted down the motion he made at the Tuesday, July 12 fiscal court meeting, to allow the jailer to get some costs together.

“It would be better off building something onto the jail if we are going to keep this many inmates,” said Carter. “It’s crowded down there now, and I’d hate to see any problems come from the inmates who may be getting uncomfortable. If we are going to keep getting more Class D’s we may want to get ideas on a cost to expand.”

Although Magistrate Jo Orange was the only one to stand beside Carter, seconding his motion, she too had some concerns about building on. She wanted to see more information first before diving into the project.

Jailer Phil Gregory seemed to warm up to the idea saying many other counties were looking into expanding their jails.

“Everyone is planning ahead,” said the jailer. “But we will do the best with what we have.”

Judge Executive Logan Chick mentioned a meeting with the Department of Corrections, where he said he learned the state was planning on reopening two state facilities in the future to handle inmates with longer sentences. There was also talk about a decrease in Class D inmates.

The state Legislature in Kentucky has assigned felonies as either capital offenses or in categories from Class A to Class D, with Class D offenses being the least serious. Class D felonies include: sale of marijuana near a school, theft of $500 or more, possession of certain drugs (second offense or greater), felony drunk driving, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, criminal trespassing and or shoplifting.

Gregory said if the court ever decided to build onto the jail, he would hope it would include a programming room. The jail has numerous educational, work ready, parenting, budgeting and spiritual programs offered, and room is needed.

Magistrate Thomas Bouldin say he would not vote for the expansion at this time. He had two criteria for voting for an expansion and for him they were not met.

“I’m not going to support this,” said Bouldin, who added first he would need to see data supporting the expansion, which he hasn’t, and second he would need to see a cost associated with the plan.

Judge Chick suggested getting a committee together to meet with the Department of Corrections and ask questions. No one volunteered to be on the committee besides magistrate Carter.

By Chris Cooper


To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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