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Rough times for old Boyle jail in 1994

Boyle County Detention Center staff have gotten many kudos in recent months for how they operate the local jail and interact positively with inmates, even as the aging facility creates many challenges. Boyle County was also dealing with problems of an outdated jail facility 24 years ago, but things were not going very smoothly.

On Nov. 15, 1994, The Advocate-Messenger featured a front-page story about inmates flushing blankets and sheets down their toilets in the old Boyle County Jail, which was adjacent to the Boyle County Courthouse.

A Department of Corrections employee, Chuck Hughes, told the newspaper such incidents were “common throughout the state.”

“Newer jails have grinders in their systems and have sensors that know when a commode is being stopped up,” Hughes said.

In fact, “it was the second weekend articles flushed down the toilet had clogged the jail’s sewer lines,” according to the article. In the prior incident, inmates had flushed “shredded” orange jumpsuits down their toilets.

Water was turned off at the jail for about a day and a half after the first incident, and for at least two days after the second incident. “Water was turned on when needed for the kitchen, but not all cells had water,” according to the article. “… Water was hauled from the courthouse for drinking and was taken to cells periodically.”

Friends and family of inmates expressed concerns about the lack of water. Hill said the lack of water was the fault of the inmates who clogged the system and said, “As long as they act like children, we’re going to treat them like children.”

Hill told the newspaper he planned to bring charges against at least one inmate for clogging the sewer lines.

Also front-page news on Nov. 15, 1994:

• A “dark cloud” of financial problems hung over the Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center, which were uncovered by a state investigation that found issues with “bookkeeping, record-keeping and internal auditing procedures” at the center. “The major objective of all concerned is that services are delivered to the clients,” said Jas Sekhon, executive director of the Bluegrass Area Development District, which was responsible for overseeing the center and its local board. “We want that and the (senior center’s) board wants that. I think we are both moving in that direction.”

• More than half of Lincoln County’s volunteer firefighters were expected to take leaves of absence after the fire district board voted to hire a full-time fire chief. “Those who favor a part-time chief said the money saved could be used to purchase more equipment. The four board members in favor of a full-time chief said the position is needed to help implement more training and provide leadership.”