By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
The race for Laurel County jailer features two Republican candidates in the May 20 primary when incumbent Jamie Mosley will face challenger Darryl Wayne Bolton.
The term for a jailer in Laurel County is four years, and jailers receive a salary of $99,730.
Mosley will finish his first term as jailer this year. The 43-year-old candidate from London is a graduate of M.C. Napier High School. He attended Eastern Kentucky University and is a Kentucky Law Enforcement Council State Certified Law Enforcement Instructor. Mosley is on the Kentucky Jailers Association Board of Directors and received the Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner’s Award for Superior Performance this year.
Mosley has been married to his wife, Kristie, for 12 years and has three daughters: Chandler, 16, Kennedy, 9, and Aubrey, 5.
“Being jailer means a lot to me,” Mosley said. “I believe in right and wrong. It’s more than a job for me; it’s my life, and it’s what I believe in.”
Helping the people of Laurel County is the most rewarding part of being jailer, Mosley said.
His top priority is to continue the financial progress of his work as jailer. According to Mosley, he has saved more than $4 million in taxpayer money in his term as jailer. He has accomplished this through several means, including adding $1 million in revenue by housing federal inmates. He has also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by using inmate labor to remodel the jail, the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office, and the occupational tax office. Inmate labor has also been used for other county projects to save money.
Commissary revenues are also another big part of Mosley’s money-saving plan. Money from the commissary fund has helped buy new work-release vans, re-entry education program material, and more. The purchase of in-cell hand sanitizers as well as anti-bacterial bath and body wash has eliminated staph infections, which has greatly reduced medical costs.
Impacting the lives of inmates is also on Mosley’s agenda. According to Mosley, over 70 inmates have earned their GED diplomas through the Laurel County Adult Education Program, and it is his goal to continue expanding educational and vocational training opportunities.
Mosley plans to add an agriculture program this year for inmates to learn modern practices of farming and grow their own vegetables. The agricultural program will give inmates valuable skills and decrease food costs. Programs such as anger management, parenting skills, job interviewing skills, and life skills classes are offered and Mosley plans to offer training in various vocational trades such as auto body repair and carpentry apprenticeships through a new computer simulation training program.
“I think to understand this industry you have to be in it,” Mosley said. “There are theories and ideas that just don’t work; inmates will not change on their own, and we realize we cannot change everybody, but we still try.”
The jail ministry also impacts inmates; Mosley said over 150 have been baptized and faith-based services five days a week have increased the morale of inmates.
Mosley said his goal for inmates is to get them to be drug-free and provide them with the tools necessary to stay out of jail.
“I get letters from inmates who are successful for the first time in their lives,” Mosley said. “It’s wonderful to get letters from inmates who have turned their lives around.”
He added he has managed to reduce recidivism, or people returning to jail, by 5 percent.
Work release is a way for Mosley to help both prisoners and the community. Mosley has increased the size of the work release program from 16 inmates to 50 inmates. Mosley also created the first female work-release crew, and wants to add additional crews.
“We want to create an opportunity for inmates to work,” Mosley said. “The busier we can keep them the better.”
The inmates have picked up tons of roadside garbage, cut weeds and trees along roadways and cleaned cemeteries. The inmates also maintain buildings and fields at the Laurel-London Optimist Club as well as North and South Laurel Little Leagues.
“I believe our inmates need a disciplined, structured environment and the more work activities we can provide helps to provide needed services to our community and will continue to build a strong work ethic among our inmates,” Mosley said.
Mosley claimed he has turned the Laurel County Correctional Center into “one of the most respected facilities in the state” and has had employees go on to work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
“Nowhere else is there structure and discipline at our level,” Mosley said. He added it takes a balance of discipline and understanding to positively impact the lives of inmates, and a jailer needs to have respect for the inmates as well as respect from the inmates.
“You can impact a lot of different groups,” Mosley said. “It’s rewarding to help people.”
Mosley’s opponent is Bolton, 50, a small business owner who says he is brief and “to the point.” Bolton grew up in Laurel County, and graduated from Laurel County High School. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran, and has never run for elected office before.
“I’m from Laurel County; it’s my home. I think I should be concerned with everything going on in the county,” Bolton said.
Bolton believes that a jailer is meant to serve the county.
“I plan on running the jail for the people of Laurel County,” Bolton said. “I want to put the jail back in the hands of the people.”
Bolton feels as though the Laurel County Correctional Center has been run “more like a state jail than a county jail,” though he would not elaborate on how.
Bolton also wants to be a “full-time jailer” and said he would be at the jail as many hours as possible in order to be easily accessible to those who need him.
Bolton also believes there should be no visitation fee for inmates’ family members.
“I will not charge taxpayers to visit family members in jail,” Bolton said. “The taxpayers are in a bind with how hard times are right now, and visitation fees are on the backs of they taxpayers.”
Bolton also believes in fairness. He said he will not treat inmates differently based on “social standing” and believes that it is important to treat the jail staff well.
“I believe in fair treatment and equality with all employees,” Bolton said.
Bolton also believes in combatting drugs within the jail.
“I think jails should have strong drug rehab programs,” Bolton said. “I’m for a no-tolerance drug policy.”
For Bolton, being jailer is about the people.
“Any decisions I make in the jail will be in the best interest of the Laurel County taxpayer,” he said. “I would like to be a jailer for the people of Laurel County, not myself.”
By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
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