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Jail Prepares For State Reopening

Joint Jail Committee OKs $5.2-Million Budget

An inmate lies on a pallet on a cell floor in 2019. BCDC was built to house 220 inmates, but the population last year reached over 250, meaning many inmates didn’t get beds. Due to concerns about COVID-19, courts and law enforcement have worked to reduce the jail population statewide. The population at BCDC was 137 on Tuesday, June 16.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been relatively slow at Boyle County Detention Center.

On Tuesday, June 16, the population at BCDC was at 137. Officials say the decline in population at the jail is due to class D felony offenders being released on their own recognizance in lieu of cash bonds.

In order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading behind bars, prosecutors, public defenders and judges worked to reduce the number of county inmates in jails by 28-percent, according to a March report by the Louisville Courier-Journal.

No one wanted BCDC to be another Green River Correctional Complex. So far, the 982-bed correctional facility has had 366 inmates and 51 staff members diagnosed with COVID-19. Two inmates at the medium security prison have died, according to the state.

However, as Kentucky’s economy begins to reopen, BCDC, like other local jails, is gearing up for more inmates. Officials say they are ordering more supplies.

“We’re prepared for anything that happens right now,” said Dep. Jailer Danny Sallee.

New inmates are checked by medical personnel. Unlike Green River, where everyone had to be tested, inmates are tested only when they show symptoms, in which case they are isolated, officials say. Rapid testing for COVID-19. Tests are expensive. They are looking for ways to be reimbursed for testing costs.

Kentucky Department of Corrections regulations are enable inmate work crews to return to job sites that are not near the public.

Jail officials say they are still waiting on regulations for transporting inmates when courts reopen.

The Shepherd’s House Day Treatment Program has been handling meetings by Zoom. In-person meetings resumed June 1.

“We’re excited to have them back in the building,” said Roger Fox, the community outreach coordinator at Shepherd’s House. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, the program still can’t take new clients.

The jail paid out $10,000 in COVID-19-related expenses over March, April and May, according to Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley.

Because of the smaller number of inmates, the cost of medical services is also smaller. Conley said Mercer’s contribution will be $3,000 lower.

Both fiscal courts will give second reading to the budget on Monday, June 29. Due to the pandemic, the Department of Local Government was late in approving the jail budget, which delayed the county in advertising the second reading as legally required.

In other business, the Mercer-Boyle County Joint Jail Committee:

  • Approved a $5.2-million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
  • Approved the contract amendment with Southern Health Partners, which provides medical services at BCDC.

The commissioners agreed to an annual adjustment by three percent, which would cost $1,033.32 per month, $12,500 annually, Conley said. She said canteen funds can be used to reimburse the difference. The contract needs to be approved by both fiscal courts.

  • Approved the jail bed service agreement, which expires June 20. The agreement must be approved by the Boyle County Fiscal Court.
  • Approved the Boyle County Health Department inmate medical contract, which must be approved by both fiscal courts.
  • Approved a copier maintenance contract for $1,035. Anything over 75,000 copies will be billed at 14-cents each.

The next meeting of the Mercer-Boyle County Joint Jail Committee will be held Friday, July 10, at 1 p.m. at the Boyle County Judicial Center.

1 Comment

  1. Mrs Crawford on June 20, 2020 at 9:07 am

    I mean really wooden pallets and did these people really need to be in jail to begin with or did they just need arbitration . I mean you know we put up with those types of people dailey here in cornishville and mostly the fire department here keeps them in line and working and practicing their arson skills .

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