By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
Several state inmates from McCreary County are now jailed in Whitley and Laurel counties.
This comes after the Kentucky Department of Corrections shut down McCreary County Jail and ordered all inmates sent to other correctional facilities.
Laurel County Jailer Jamie Mosley said 59 of those inmates now reside in the Laurel County Correctional Center.
“We don’t expect any more,” Mosley said.
Whitley County Jailer Ken Mobley said 12 inmates were brought to the Whitley County Detention Center.
Mosley said state inmates bring in $31.34 per inmate, per day. Not all inmates brought to Laurel County are state prisoners, and Mosley said those inmates bring in a little less per day.
However, he said, it spells nothing but revenue for the county.
Laurel County learned during its December fiscal court meeting that inmates were heading for Laurel County’s jai, as was reported in the Times-Tribune Dec. 21.
He said the DOC advised the jail it was necessary to relocate the inmates, and Mosley said they would handle the additional inmate load “even if we have to have a mat on the floor.”
During December’s meeting he said revenues would bring in between $10,000-$15,000 per month. But with the final numbers of inmates settled at the jail, Mosley said revenues realized will be significantly higher. “It does increase our revenue,” Mosley said. “But we didn’t initially anticipate (the number of inmates).”
He explained the additional revenues will help the jail, while lowering the county’s cost to operate the jail. When elected, Mosley said the jail’s expenditures totaled approximately $4.7 million annually.
Revenues totaled approximately $1.2 million, which Mosley said required a $3.5 million subsidy from the county.
Including the addition of inmates from McCreary County, Mosley said revenues should now total approximately $3 million.
This means Laurel County will only subsidize about $1.7 million.
Laurel County Correctional Center is a 300-bed facility, according to Mosley. “We have about 400 inmates currently,” he said. “And we have approximately 25-30 dormitory cells, and we evenly distribute (the inmates) throughout these dorm cells.”
Whitley County received its 12 inmates in December, according to Mobley.
“The state ones came a couple weeks ago,” he said.
Mobley explained Whitley County receives just over $31 per day from the state for its inmates.
For the year, Whitley County will receive more than $135,000 to house the 12.
“There are various offenders,” Mobley said. “I’d say 70 percent of them are drug-related.”
At this time, Mobley said there is no time frame for the length of the 12 inmates’ stay. “Right now, I’d say it’s long-term,” he said.
Whitley County Detention Center is a 184-bed facility, according to Mobley. As of Tuesday, he said 200 inmates were jailed there. “(The number of inmates) changes from day to day,” Mobley said. “Some of them will have court cases, and then be bonded out.”
He explained all health care provided to inmates will be paid by McCreary County. “(There’s) no strain on resources,” he said.
The state shut down McCreary County Jail after several incidents, according to a letter from Jeff R. Burton, director of the Division of Local Facilities with the DOC. That letter, sent to Douglas Stephens, McCreary County Judge/Executive, states that from January through June 2012, four separate incidents allowed six inmates to escape from the facility.
Kentucky Jail Standards requires any correctional facility to notify the DOC when these incidents occur.
McCreary County failed to do so, according to the letter.
In the last two incidents, jailers were unaware anyone had escaped until they were told by an outside source.
“As a result of the security concerns identified during the (DOC) investigation…further investigation into the security practices of the facility was warranted,” Burton states in the letter.
In August, both Jailer Tony Ball and McCreary County received a report outlining the violations per the Kentucky Jail Standards. The report requested a corrective action plan be submitted within 15 days of receipt.
No plan was submitted by Ball, although some improvements were made.
The state inspects correctional facilities twice per year. The first for 2012 was in February. The second came in October.
Burton states in the letter they again requested a corrective action plan within 15 days, however, Ball again failed to provide any plan.
The jail was then ordered closed by Jan. 15, 2013.