Home incarceration may soon be option again in Boyle, Mercer

Published 8:11 am Friday, November 10, 2017

Jail officials are working to institute a new home incarceration program for the Boyle County Detention Center — something the jail hasn’t had since the local circuit and district courts opted to stop using Kentucky Alternatives Program at the beginning of this year.

Officials are hashing out details with Southeast Kentucky Monitoring, according to an email conversation shared by Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley.

The home incarceration program would use ankle monitors provided by Southeast Kentucky Monitoring. SKM would charge $150 for the first seven days of monitoring and $10 a day after that.

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Boyle County Attorney Lynne Dean said there are still a handful of questions that must be worked out, and she is working with District Judge Jeff Dotson on the answers, as Dotson is the judge who will most likely use the home incarceration program the most.

“We’re looking at it and if it’s something that can help with our jail population,” Dean said. “There are many times that I think I will use it. (Mercer County Attorney) Ted (Dean) doesn’t think he will use it as frequently.”

Dean said she would consider home incarceration for people facing lesser domestic violence charges, who also don’t have a history of any violent crimes.

“I was a victim in a circuit court matter where someone I had prosecuted made some alleged … threats against my life,” she said. “He was out on an ankle bracelet, and I felt pretty protected.”

Dean said it would also be a good solution for people facing DUI charges but have serious medical conditions, such as “end-stage cirrhosis” — cases that are more common than you might think.

And, she said, she sees home incarceration as a “tool” she can use for people who can’t afford bail but that she believes may not show up for their next court appearance.

Ted Dean was more pessimistic about the value of adding a home incarceration program.

“The biggest problem that we’ve had, the biggest jail population driver is drugs,” he said. “Home incarceration — when you’ve got people who are in active addiction, when you’ve got people who are suffering, it just in my mind is not effective. It keeps you at the house; it doesn’t stop people from coming over. … This is not going to be a catch-all. This might be good for people serving 30 days for shoplifting at Walmart, but the vast majority of the 350 (inmates in the jail are there due to drugs).”

Boyle County Chief Deputy Jailer said he doesn’t disagree with Ted Dean’s assessment, but “putting somebody in jail for 30-60 days doesn’t mean they’re not going to back out and start using drugs, either. So leaving them in jail with no treatment is not going to fix that.”

Lynne Dean said the goal of the home incarceration program will be to get people out of jail, make sure they show up for court and make sure victims are protected.

“I certainly don’t want to look at a family if I let someone out,” she said. “… (If) I let them out and something happens, the family’s not going to care, frankly, if they were low-risk through pre-trial. They’re going to be coming to me, wanting to know why I let that person out of jail. So it protects that victim, it protects me.”

Kentucky Alternatives Program previously provided GPS monitoring for home incarceration to the courts in Boyle and Mercer counties. But at the beginning of this year, the courts phased out use of KAP, causing the Danville office for the statewide organization to close.