Boyle jail population down, but some still housed in Casey

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Boyle County Detention Center is continuing to house a handful of inmates in Casey County as officials work to lower the jail’s population.

The jail was running at a population of about 360 on Monday, Jailer Barry Harmon said. That’s down from last week, when the population peaked at 402 on Feb. 26 and officials sent 15 inmates to the Casey County jail to ease overcrowding.

Harmon said he’d like to get the jail’s population down to around 335 and then bring back inmates who are currently housed in Casey.

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In order to lower the population, officials are using the jail’s new intensive outpatient program (IOP), which allows inmates to be released while they participate in drug rehabilitation. The program launched Feb. 27, when 17 inmates were cleared by the courts to participate. Another inmate was cleared on Feb. 28, and two more have been added since then.

“They’re at 20, but I think one got arrested this weekend, so he’s out of the program and they’re down to 19,” Harmon said.

The initial capacity of the program is 20, with plans to expand as high as 60. Harmon was hopeful last week that the program could expand to 40 right away, but he said Monday it will take some more time. Shepherd’s House, the organization running the IOP program, needs more time “to get assimilated” with the first round of 20 inmates before it takes on more, he said.

“Probably in the next 10 days, they’ll be going in,” he said.

Last week, Harmon informed magistrates that overcrowding at the jail was forcing officials to house dozens of inmates on the floor of the jail’s indoor recreation area. Because there are no restrooms or showers attached to the area, inmates had to be escorted to restroom facilities every time they need them. That created a “huge security risk,” Harmon said.

The overcrowding had affected staffing at the jail as well, as three deputy jailers had quit since Jan. 1, Harmon said at the time.

On Monday, Harmon said there have been no more issues with turnover.

“And the new deputies are working out real well that we’ve hired in their place,” he said.

Officials have discussed the possibility of hiring a contractor to build restrooms and showers onto the recreation area as a temporary measure, but no formal action on that idea has been taken.

Boyle and Mercer counties are currently in the process of seeking qualifications for what a new jail facility capable of serving the area’s needs might look like. The “RFQ” process could take up to nine months, at which point the counties could then begin looking for a company to build a jail facility, Harmon said last week.