Boyle jail population lowest it’s been in five years

Published 8:23 am Friday, December 22, 2017

The Boyle County Detention Center’s population was down to a population of 259 for the first time since 2012, Magistrate Jack Hendricks said Thursday.

The mid-200s population stands in stark contrast to far higher numbers earlier this year: The jail peaked at above 400 inmates in February and multiple times this summer. 

At this time in 2016, there were between 375 and 377, Hendricks said.

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“Nobody is releasing anyone who is a danger. Let’s make that clear,” he said, complementing the judges and others in Boyle and Mercer counties.

Boyle County Jailer Barry Harmon said there are currently about 112 Boyle County inmates; the Mercer County inmates are in the 40s; and there are more than 100 state inmates. The state number is a substantial contributor to overcrowding in the jail, he said.

The Boyle County Detention Center has a rated capacity of 220 “beds.”

The Boyle County Fiscal Court also approved a request on Thursday to purchase a new four-wheel drive vehicle for the Boyle County Detention Center. The vehicle will cost about $30,000, plus another $2,300 to cover the costs of adding a screen and wiring a radio in the new vehicle.

When a county or state inmate from the detention center is transported to the hospital in Lexington, Harmon said a deputy of the jail has to stay there with the inmate. They also have to keep a vehicle there, in case the inmate is released. When the time comes to relieve that person, a second deputy takes a second vehicle.

“That vehicle needs to be a four-wheel drive if they’re going to get to and from in inclement weather,” Harmon said. “We have to go.”

He initially made the recommendation at a meeting earlier in December.

Magistrates approved moving the money out of the general fund to cover the cost of the vehicle.

In other business:

• The fiscal court approved placing Judge-Executive Harold McKinney on the executive committee for the Economic Development Partnership board. McKinney was given a three-year term on the EDP board, though his current term as judge-executive ends next year. The term would pass on to the next judge-executive if McKinney leaves office.

The other two appointees to the EDP board by the fiscal court — David Williams and Dave Maynard — will be one year and two years, respectively. Williams term will expire this summer, but magistrates said they would likely reappoint him to a new three-year term at that time.

• The fiscal court heard from Mike Wilder, emergency management director, that a new weather siren was going to be placed on Tennessee Ridge. At that point, he said, he plans to take down the one in Parksville, which typically doesn’t work because it doesn’t get a very good signal. That one will then replace the siren on Airport Road, which isn’t working. Wilder said he hopes to fix the siren currently on Airport Road to hold as a spare.