Barren County Puts a Hold On Jail Updates

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

You may be tired of hearing about the poor living conditions at the Barren County Jail, but so are the people trying to fix them.

Barren County officials have been debating on whether to remodel the current facility or build a new one.

Now, plans to do anything are on hold.

"When we use the bathroom, water runs out beneath our feet," inmate, Mark Bailey explained.

Bailey has been living in these conditions for eight months now and he has more than a year to go.

"It's hard on you, health wise, in here," Bailey said.

Officials in Barren County agree and have started making minor repairs to the jail, like painting.

"Paint can only cover up so much," inmate, Marty Brown said. "The pipes leak, the plumbing's bad, the heating and cooling is terrible, there are cracks in the wall and foundation."

Brown has been in jail before and he may be here until 2013. He's been helping paint the jail and knows all too well how bad it is.

"The ants and stuff tend to come through the cracks," Brown explained.

Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer said the jail isn't meeting state codes.

Greer said the county is waiting to do any major updates because The University of Louisville is doing a study on all Kentucky jails.

Once the report is released the state may help fund a new jail.

"They're going to tell us what they want us to build. So, there's not any sense of us going and spending a lot of money and they said right off the bat it will probably be $2 million to get our jail," Greer explained.

Judge Greer said she's expecting to hear something from the state after the General Assembly meets in January 2008.

Until then, the inmates are just waiting the conditions out.

"We've all done something to be here. We deserve to be punished so we do the best we can," Brown stated.

Bailey and Brown say they understand that no one really cares about their living conditions.

"We shouldn't have to live in these conditions because we make the wrong choices. We're still humans - good people," Bailey explained.

After all, this is their home.

Greer said the conditions aren't just bad for the inmates - the jail's employees are also affected.

If conditions get worse the state could shut the jail down.

If that were to happen, the inmates would be moved to other county jails.

Greer said it would cost the county almost $30 per person per day plus the expense of driving the inmates back and forth to court.

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