The Richmond Register

Crime

April 9, 2013

County jail overcrowding issues continue

Magistrates discuss incarceration alternatives

RICHMOND — The overcrowding of Madison County’s 195-bed detention center has been a topic of discussion for years now.

The Richmond Register reported that during an April 2007 fiscal court meeting, Magistrate Larry Combs said building a new jail must be a top priority. Other news stories followed, which covered issues surrounding alternatives to incarceration and the jail’s funding.

The conversation continued at Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting when Magistrate Billy Ray Hughes, who said he has been “studying our jail situation,” brought up the affects of House Bill 463.

In 2011, the General Assembly passed HB 463 which aimed to reduce jail population and incarceration costs by allowing police to cite offenders for low-level crimes instead of automatically jailing them. It also encouraged treatment programs for drug offenders.

On Monday, the Madison County Detention Center housed 300 inmates, said Madison County Jailer Doug Thomas. But 10 inmates were transferred out by the state Department of Corrections because the jail was more than 125 percent over capacity.

If county prisoners are added to the jail and state prisoners are removed because of overcrowding, the county loses revenue generated by housing state prisoners, said Judge-Executive Kent Clark.

If this continues over the next three years, he said, fiscal court could be supplementing the jail budget with $2.3 million, leaving tax payers to foot the bill.

State prisoners can bring in up to $70,000 a month in state funds to the detention center, Thomas reported in the past.

But as the county’s population grows, so will its jail population, Clark said.

Based on a study of the county’s population growth, the jail will need to provide 420 beds by 2020, he added.

The magistrates tossed around ideas Tuesday to reduce jail population.

“Research shows there are mandatory intensive treatment programs that are more effective than incarceration,” Hughes said.

As a prosecutor, County Attorney Marc Robbins weighed in on the issue.

He invited the fiscal court to take a look at the criminal justice process -- “please come tomorrow (to district court when preliminary hearings are conducted) … and look at what we see on a daily and monthly basis. Then you’ll see where the problem comes from,” he said.

With implementation of HB 463, the judiciary is “erring on the side of letting people out (of jail),” Robbins said.

In some regards, he said, HB 463 has caused more problems because instead of making arrests, officers “cite people and ask them to come to court, rather than make them come to court.”

Monday, there were 36 people on district court’s jail docket “and almost everyone of them were people that had failed to come to court to begin with,” he said.

When people fail to show up to court, the problem is compounded when contempt of court charges are added on top of the original offense, Robbins said.

“It’s a huge problem, and trust me, we are very much aware of the situation, and we try to take that into account in every single case,” he said. “But, more than a financial matter, we need to make sure that the public is protected and the community is safe. I think that is the No. 1 role of government. Letting people out (of jail) to save money and jeopardizing folks that can’t feel comfortable in their home -- I don’t think is a good equation.”

Robbins again invited magistrates to look at the cases and give their thoughts on what should be done with some of the offenders.

“I’m not schooled in criminal justice, but all I can do is look at the research and talk about a mandatory intensive treatment program because so much of our incarceration is because of drug problems,” Hughes said.

“That’s true, but it’s not, at the same time,” Robbins replied. There are few people serving drug possession sentences, he said, but they are serving time for crimes connected to obtaining drugs.

“House Bill 463 talked about treatment. It gave lip-service to treatment, but the reality of it is, there’s not a whole lot there … until there is a better alternative, I think it would be improper to set somebody free for financial reasons if they put our community at risk,” Robbins said.

Later in the meeting, Clark said there are long waiting lists for free drug rehabilitation programs and “unless you’ve got $1,000 a day to go some place, there is not really an option for that.”

Magistrate Greg King said a problem he sees is the jailing of those who are behind on child support.

“We lock them up and put them in jail, and all we’re doing is making more of a burden to county taxpayers when there should be some kind of program that they have to work and pay that money,” King said.

As they look at expanding the jail, he said, the fiscal court also should look at “making them work to give back to the community.”

Inmates have “the best air conditioner” and other needs met, he said. “They are took care of better than people who are out here struggling and trying to make it.”

Robbins pointedly asked Jailer Thomas how many people enjoyed staying in jail.

“You might think they are being taken care of better than they should be, but the reality of it is, when you interfere with somebody’s freedom, it’s kind of a big deal,” Robbins said.

Every inmate who is qualified to be on work-release, is currently working, Clark said.

However, that number is limited because of bed space, Thomas said. Work-release inmates must be housed in a separate area.

“And even if you let them out to work, you still got to bring them back, put them to bed and feed them,” Clark added.

King said before the magistrates decide to build a $4.5 million jail expansion, every alternative should be examined to reduce the jail population.

“We’ve been working on alternatives for years,” Clark shot back. “It’s just one of those things where if we want to keep talking about alternatives and we don’t want to do anything about the problem we’re facing over here, then in three or four years, you all can sit here and vote to double people’s property taxes and see how fair that is, because that’s what it’s coming to -- bottom line.”

Clark said he will have a detailed presentation prepared for the next fiscal court meeting to talk about the jail situation.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

1
Text Only
Crime
  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

  • 4-18 George WilliamsWEB.jpg Madison County inmate dies in Lexington hospital

    An inmate at the Madison County Detention Center died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital, according to officials with the Fayette County Coroner’s Office and Madison County EMS.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17 Melissa Lear.jpg BPD charge two in Richmond heroin-trafficking case

    Berea police arrested two women April 10 in a Richmond home in connection with heroin possession and trafficking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16 Lisa Begley.jpg Police: Woman drove through storage business gate

    Richmond police arrested a Lexington woman Monday night after the property manager at Main Street Storage said she repeatedly drove her vehicle into a gate and fence at the 455 E. Main St. business.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • $250,000 wrecker stolen

    A representative of Barger’s Wrecking Service, North Porter Drive, reported to Richmond police Sunday that a black, 1996 Peterbilt wrecker with company logos on it was stolen from the business’ parking lot. The wrecker is valued at $250,000, according to the police report.

    April 15, 2014

  • Man involved in double slaying dies in prison

    A Richmond man who pleaded guilty in 2009 to participating in a double slaying in Lincoln County died in prison Monday.

    Neccolus Mundy, 32, died less than a week after being found unresponsive in his cell at Northpoint Training Center, according to The Associated Press.

    April 11, 2014

  • Two charged with prostitution and indecent exposure

    Two people were charged Wednesday evening after they were observed engaging in sexual activity related to prostitution in public, according to Richmond police.

    April 10, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results