New Barren County Jail Possible

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

Inmate's families say they wouldn't let their pets live in the Barren County Jail.
Barren County Commonwealth Attorney Karen Davis requested the Barren Bounty Grand Jury to pay an unannounced visit to the jail last week.
"The time has come for this building to be re-done or replaced." Says Jailer Leland Cox. The Barren County jail was built 30 years ago. Cox says its old age makes it difficult to work in and live in. "Very stressful. Stressful for the staff and for the jailer."
The jail faces a number of problems like old sleeping mats, unsafe working conditions and overcrowding. "Things like that are things that will have to be done. For example, there are plumbers in here weekly."
But, he says his biggest fear is the possibility of the air conditioner shutting down.
Cox says that's grounds for the state to shut down the jail within 24 hours. "When temperature gets hot, tempers flair easier. It's hard to keep everything under control. It's hard for deputies too."
And prisoners have fears of their own. "Within last few days there's been fights over where to sleep." Inmate Dewayne York says in his four months that hasn't changed.
The jail was built for 119 people. On a daily basis between 140 and 160 are sleeping just about anywhere.
"That's completely outta bounds for this facility to have that little bedding ... people sleep on floor." Cox explains.
It's up to the County to fund a new jail.
"We want to know if we can afford payments on a jail that's what the problem is." County Judge Executive Davie Greer knows all too well the problems with the jail, it already makes up 4% of an already tight budget.
And that's after $25. 00 a day is charged to Monroe and Metcalfe Counties for housing their inmates.
"Half of our jail --over half are Barren County Prisoners."
And it costs 20 bucks to house them. Leland Cox says in all his tenure working at prisons nationwide ... "I've seen better I've seen worse."
The comments filed by the Barren County Grand Jury are as follows:
"replace with new" and " crowded and in poor condition"
"the jail needs improvement- it is overcrowded and probably understaffed with that many inmates - we need to push for a new up to date building."
"new jail definitely needs to be built ... 30 years is well overdue for a new one."
"I think that the jail needed major improvements."
"I found conditions at the jail to be deplorable ... conditions are the local animal shelter are better than our jail. I think we need a new facility."
"My impressions of the employees were very positive. I was less impressed with the facility."
"If Barren County intends to continue housing prisoners from other counties I feel a new jail is needed, however it does not need to be too plush for the prisoners."


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