According to the information presented by Harmon, this year's average number of inmates is 287, not 220, which presents budget problems.
As a result of the excess, the jail is overcrowded. Because the jail is overcrowded, more inmates are sleeping on the floor on the secure side of the jail. Inmates that sleep on the floor are given two mats to sleep on instead of the usual one. Doubling the number of mats already has caused that line item to go over budget, Harmon said.
Having a larger number of inmates also impacts the amount of money spent on food and laundry. Harmon emphasized that the person who orders the food, Madge Harlow, checks with three different vendors before purchasing food, always selecting the lowest price. Former Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder said he and Harmon previously did the math on how much it cost per meal per inmate. They said they figured the amount to be only about a dollar per meal per inmate, which includes only the price of food. Wilder said he didn't know how to make that number much lower.
Medical expenses were addressed by nurse Brenda Rousey, who works at the jail. Rousey has used a grant program through Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center that has saved Boyle and Mercer counties more than $233,000 to date. Harmon also presented information about medical and housing savings as a result of House Bill 191. According the numbers, the jail has saved $78,000 in medical expenses and $11,000 in housing expenses due to the bill, which makes the state responsible for covering expenses for inmates with long-term or specialized treatment needs.
Rousey added that in the past many treatments were completed outside of the jail at the hospital whereas now she and another nurse perform as many procedures as possible in house, barring emergency care and specialized treatment.
Harmon also presented the number of hours worked by Class D inmates in Boyle and Mercer counties, Junction City and Harrodsburg as of March 12.
As of that date, 118,616 hours had been worked. If those workers had been paid $6 an hour, that would have cost $711,696, according to Harmon's information. The price tag was estimated to be in the $1.5 million range if those inmates were compensated as full-time employees with benefits.
The jail also has made $860,945.28 as of March 12 for housing state inmates.
Capt. Phil Yates, personnel manager at the jail, also was present at the meeting. He told the court that housing the extra inmates has led to more overtime for the employees at the jail. He cited safety reasons as the cause for employees to work more often. He reasoned that it wasn't safe for a three- or four-person crew, sometimes with half the crew being women, to be responsible for controlling a crowd of 80 or more inmates should a problem arise.
Yates also added that employees at the jail discuss on a daily, if not hourly basis, how to run more efficiently.
He also added that turnover at the jail is very low, losing only one employee per month, he estimated.
As decided in a joint jail meeting last week, an efficiency check will be held by Ray Sabbatine, who formerly worked with the Fayette County Detention Center. The operation will cost no more than $2,000, according to Sabbatine.
Harmon closed the meeting by saying he thought the jail employees were doing a great job. He extended an open invitation to the court to visit and check out the day-to-day operations at the jail.