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Malfunctioning Doors Lock Boyle Officials In Jail

Consultant To Release Jail Study On Friday

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

Boyle County Detention Center officials recently found themselves in the same situation as the inmates: locked in with no easy way out.

The electronically controlled doors inside the jail malfunctioned when members of the Boyle County Fiscal Court’s jail committee met at the facility last week. All doors were locked until the system was restarted. It took about half an hour to get the system running again and free the officials.

Chief Deputy Jailer Brian Wofford said the system has malfunctioned about a dozen times over the last year, but the issue is “starting to happen more frequently.” It has happened twice in the past three weeks, Wofford said.

When the system is down, guards use one of two master keys to escape from cells if they’ve being locked in. However, manually opening and closing doors is cumbersome and slows down normal jail operations.

Wofford told the Mercer-Boyle Joint Jail Committee on Friday that the issue is caused by settling at the jail, which is over two decades old. Something as trivial as a door being slammed shut can cause the whole system to melt down.

This is not the first emergency maintenance issue the jail committee has had to deal with this year.

In January, they found out the fire alarm system, which ran off Windows 98, needed to be replaced because of issues including false alarms. This came to light right before a state inspection.

The condition of the jail, among other issues, is what led the joint jail committee to hire a consulting firm, Brandstetter Carroll Inc., to compile a comprehensive jail study. It’s been over a year since work began, which include a series of public forums in both Mercer and Boyle Counties. The consultants say they are ready to release their report.

The public, as well as interested officials, are invited to attend a special workshop meeting at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Danville.

While the joint jail committee did not get a chance to look at the findings last week, they were told in an email from one of the consultants that the jail’s design created a “significant safety and security risk and liability.”

On Friday, the joint committee agreed to hire Advanced Systems, the company that originally installed the system, to check every door in the jail for ground faults at an estimated cost of $3,260.

The technician from Advanced will not arrive until the end of the month.

The Boyle-Mercer Joint Jail Committee plans to hold a special called workshop meeting at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. The meeting will be in the community room at Inter-County Energy, 1009 Hustonville Road, Danville.

The next regular meeting of the Mercer-Boyle County Joint Jail Committee will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, at the Mercer County Fiscal Courthouse.

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.

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