The Richmond Register

Local News

November 20, 2012

Balancing act: County seeks to keep jail population down while increasing revenue

(Continued)

RICHMOND —



Overcrowding and its causes

In 2011, the Kentucky legislature pass House Bill 463, which allowed police to cite offenders for certain, low-level crimes instead of automatically jailing them. It also pushed for more rehabilitation for drug offenders.

The ultimate aim of the bipartisan Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act was to relieve overcrowding in Kentucky jails, reduce incarceration costs and increase public safety.

“It has not worked for us,” Thomas said, adding that when the bill passed, Madison County’s jail was housing about 240 to 250 inmates a day. Now it often has 275 to 280 inmates a day.

Thomas pointed out that while the bill allowed officers to issue citations for certain crimes, arresting and jailing a suspect is still up to an officer’s discretion.

Thomas said several causes contribute to jail overcrowding. Locally, the court system is clogged with cases as dockets and indictments have increased dramatically during the past several years. That is true, even  as crime rates in Kentucky have generally stayed the same or even fallen in some jurisdictions, including within Richmond city limits.

The county’s population has grown significantly since the 195-bed jail was built in 1990. The U.S. Census Bureau shows the county added 25,400 people in the past 20 years, an increase of nearly 50 percent from 1990's population of 57,508.

Plans for jail expansion

Currently, about 40 people are on the county’s home incarceration program, which was implemented this year, Thomas said.

“It’s saved the taxpayers some money, but it’s not the solution,” the jailer said.

Earlier this month, the fiscal court voted unanimously to inform the Kentucky Department of Corrections that the county is interested in building a 100-bed facility for Class D felons behind the current jail.

“We sent a message that we’re very interested about building this type of facility,” Clark said.

Once the state approves a permit for the expansion, the county will begin drawing up architectural plans and evaluating costs. The judge/executive said that by using the county’s own concrete and construction crews, costs could be reduced about 60 percent.

Clark said the expansion would roughly cost about $800,000 to $1 million, which would be funded out of the county budget and with bonds.

“I think it could pay for itself in about one and a half years,” Clark said.

Clark noted there are few jails in Kentucky that break even or make money. His goal is for the jail to bring in enough revenue to reduce its yearly general fund appropriation by $100,000 to $200,000.

Calling the proposed 100-bed jail expansion a “10-year fix,” Clark acknowledged that with the county’s population growth, both facilities could reach capacity, but at that point “we could afford to let the state take away some of their prisoners,” he said.

The county simply doesn’t have $12 million to $15 million to build a larger, regional jail, and finding a place in the county where the residents would be willing to have such a facility would be “impossible,” Clark said.

Ultimately, it’s a balancing act to abide by state regulations on jail population and living standards while also trying to generate income for the county’s general fund, he said.

“We’re doing everything we can to reduce the overcrowding,” Clark said. “But we can’t just put these drug dealers and thugs back out on the street.”

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

Text Only
Local News
  • 7-29 YMCA-Schools.jpg YMCA, county district to provide after-school care

    The Telford YMCA is partnering with the Madison County School District to provide after-school child care for kindergarten and elementary students.
    YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace and Madison County School Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the partnership Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Lucille May 1.jpg Memories bloom in May’s garden

    After realizing a story was being written about 96-year-old Lucille May, tenants of Willis Manor gathered in the lobby to share stories about her.
    Affectionately called “Mamaw” by other residents and workers at the apartment building, May has spent the four years of her residence transforming an outdoor garden that was overtaken by weeds. It’s now a thriving flowerbed, complete with interesting rocks, decorations and conversation.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Construction 1.jpg Water Street storm-water digging begins

    Caisson holes were drilled and then filled with concrete and steel poles Monday to create a retaining structure to shore up the Allstate Insurance building foundations' firm when excavation for the Water Street Stormwater Improvement Project begins.
    Digging for 20 ton, 6 by 7 foot concrete box culverts will begin today, if weather permits, said Jason Hart, Richmond’s director of Planning and Zoning. The culverts will help reduce the likelihood of flooding on Water Street by carrying storm water under Main Street, the CVS parking lot and Irvine Street to a stream, he said.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Robert Abney.jpg RPD: Bottle bomb injures man, damages neighbor’s home

    Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
    Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
    They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Steven Coffey.jpg Two led police on I-75 chase from Berea

    Berea Police found a man passed out and intoxicated inside his crashed vehicle on Interstate 75 Wednesday, according to a police report.
    Steven Coffey, 34, of Berea, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet when officers arrived at the vehicle, the police report stated. They determined he was under the influence of drugs, the report stated.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-27 Hops 1.jpg Hops & Vine Festival raises money for humane society

    Downtown Richmond’s Hops and Vine Festival started more than two years ago with a question.

    July 26, 2014 3 Photos

  • Bill Clinton will stump for Grimes in eastern Kentucky

    Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    Former President Bill Clinton will join Grimes on Aug. 6 for a campaign rally in eastern Kentucky, according to a campaign official who would provide no further details.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-26 Stockyards 2.jpg Cattle farmers enjoying ‛perfect storm’

    Demand is up, and cattle are selling for record prices.

    At the same time, corn prices are down and fuel prices have stabilized.

    That adds up to a “perfect storm” for Kentucky cattle farmers, said Gary Kelly of Paint Lick as he ate lunch Friday with his brother Jimmy at the restaurant across from the Blue Grass Stockyards.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-26 Fire Practice Structure 1.jpg Fire training tower going up

    A new training tower for the Richmond Fire Department is rising on Four Mile Road.

    Construction began Thursday on the four-story, steel-framed structure.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results