Crowded jail may house more inmates

November 24, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Members of the Mercer County Fiscal Court heard some good financial news Tuesday about the Boyle County Detention Center.

If a plan goes through to allow the jail to house more state prisoners, the jail's coffers could be boosted by some $437,357 a year.

Boyle County Jailer Barry Harmon told the court that the jail is paid about $900,000 a year by the state for housing Class D felons and with the addition of 44 more inmates at $26.61 a day, "That's about as much revenue as we can produce," he said.

The additional funds will be made possible if the state reduces the amount of space necessary for each prisoner from 70 square feet to 40 square feet. Harmon said that change could come in January. The jail currently houses 107 Class D felons.


Boyle and Mercer counties also will benefit by having more prisoners that can be used in work detail for the county governments. However, the additional revenue is not all gravy. There are always more expenses added for increased jail population, including food, uniforms, medical care and bedding.

A drawback

But there is a drawback. The population continues to grow at the jail. Harmon said there were 262 inmates over the weekend for the facility designed for 174. That might be a problem if all the jails and prisons across the state were not overcrowded, too, Harmon said.

Harmon said with the additional revenue from state prisoners, he hopes the amount of money the two counties have to pay to operate and pay the jail's debt will be cut to very little.

In recent years, the counties have had to add $100,000 every other month from county treasuries to the jail fund. The amount each county pays is based on the percentage of population represented by the each county's inmates. Boyle County is responsible for 62 percent of the jail's cost and Mercer County pays 38 percent.

More good news

Harmon had some more good news about the jail. The court approved a home incarceration system which might save the jail money in medical bills. When the Joint Jail Committee met Nov. 12, it approved a contract with CDA Electronic Monitoring of Cincinnati to supply equipment for home incarceration.

Home incarceration is not used a great deal by local judges, but it allows inmates who can afford it to stay at home and possibly work while completing a jail sentence. Inmates with medical problems could stay at home and the jail would not have to pay for the inmate's medical treatment.

The drawback is that the inmate will have to come up with $180 at the beginning of his sentence. That includes a $40 deposit, $20 hook-up fee and $120 for 10 days. CDA charges $4.75 a day for use of the equipment. The jail charges inmates $12 a day; the remaining $7.25 goes into the jail's treasury.

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