Report makes need for jail reforms clear

Published 12:42 pm Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dear Editor,

The report is in. And our 50th judicial district is as shameful as I’ve previously stated, but on steroids. Where do we go from here?

Beyond the obvious need to “clean house” of the prosecutors and judges here in Boyle/Mercer counties, which is our responsibility, there is the future of our “jail” to consider. And let it be said again … the staff and volunteers at the jail have worked diligently throughout. They will be the first to rally behind a major change in how our jail works and that ultimately affects those unfortunate enough to spend time therein.

Email newsletter signup

A simple thing as a first step could be the most powerful. Let’s formally rename the jail as the “Boyle/Mercer County Rehabilitation/Detention Center.”

A second step must be to rethink the function of this facility in the spirit of its new name. Put the new emphasis on rehabilitation. Embrace the 3 Days Count project as defined by Kentucky’s Pretrial Services for even three days in jail makes it more likely for those individuals to commit more crime. Much can be done in a positive way for those there for three days, and this is the crux of the issue.

Within three days, it is possible to triage each and every person placed in our jail. We use a case management model that makes recommendations for utilization of rehab services, social services, vocational services, education, mental health services, community services and/or even provide detox or detention for those needing same.

The question remains. Who will take the initiative? Who has the courage to change that which is broken and the commitment to follow through?

No new beds! Instead, a new approach.

Roger Hartner