Logan County Jailer Bill Jenkins says he won’t bring in state inmates from the bigger cities of Kentucky unless the majority of fiscal court tells him to. He said he won’t jeopardize the community just to gain additional revenue that won’t even cover the jail’s annual budget.
Right now, it’s just Magistrate Jo Orange on the court who is asking Jenkins to look into increasing the state inmate population at the Logan County Detention Center. Orange said when the jail was built over a decade ago, it was supposed to have partially been paid for by taking in state inmates. Historically, the 123-bed facility mostly houses county inmates.
The state will pay up to $31.34 per day to jails who house state inmates. A state inmate is generally someone who has been convicted of a felony charge. The county has to pay $41.09 per day to house its own inmates, which adds to a substantial $2.2 million budget for the jail.
Orange said she doesn’t understand why surrounding counties have a large population of state inmates while Logan does not. Jenkins says there are a couple of reasons Logan’s jail is different, one being the high volume of the county’s own inmate population.
In 2010-2011, Jenkins said Todd County booked in 800 inmates, with 400 of them being from the state. This number accounts for those getting in and out of jail or just passing through. During the same time period Logan County booked in 1,649 inmates, mostly county, said Jenkins.
“This is a huge difference. We are a lot more busy than Todd County,” Jenkins said. “I have to have somewhere to put my county inmates when they come in. If my jail is full of state inmates then I would have to house the county inmates at another facility and still have to pay for their daily upkeep of $41.09 plus their medical.”
But the biggest issue for the jailer does not revolve around money. He says he has been a jailer for 17 years and is a retired from the Kentucky State Police and has seen on several occasions trouble following state inmates that are brought into small communities.
“A lot of these state inmates that come from larger cities belong to big gangs and are incarcerated for serious crimes,” said Jenkins, adding that most of the time the inmate’s family members will follow them where ever they go and set up their homes in the communities as well.
“I don’t want the inmates that come here from larger cities settling in this community when they get out, and I don’t think the citizens of Logan County want that either,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins said most of the state inmate population he has now are county inmates that have been in jail going through the process and have received felony convictions.
The jailer says he does remember when they built the jail it was mentioned that state inmate population could pay for it. But he says if you do the math, you can see that it would not cover the budget even if he houses 100 state inmates, which he could never do because of room.
The jail has 123 beds with a restricted section and a secure section.
“Right now I have 75 beds in the secured section of the jail and 14 inmates sleeping on the floor,” said Jenkins, adding that is against the Department of Correction rules. Jenkins said he has 30 beds open in the restricted section, but because of classification cannot move inmates to where the empty beds are.
“If I asked for more state inmates with people sleeping on the floor I’d be turned down,” said Jenkins. “There is much more to a jail than people realize,” Jenkins added.