Madison County Jail Overcrowded, Could Cost Taxpayers

Reported by: Amanda Stevenson
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Updated: 7/31/2013 6:12 pm
The Madison County Detention Center is overcrowded, and it could start costing taxpayers, according to the county's judge-executive and jailer.

"The highest we've had since I've been here is 314 people," said Jailer Doug Thomas. He's held the position since January 2011.

There are currently 195 beds at the Madison County Detention Center.

"The other prisoners don't have a bed--they actually get a mat, just like everybody gets a mat. And then they don't have a bunk to put it on which is a metal bunk. They're on the floor," said Thomas.

"Eventually, something's gonna happen," said Judge-Executive Kent Clark, adding, "We do get reimbursed for state prisoners. But when our population is that big, then the state won't let em stay here."

Thomas said the state Department of Corrections will sometimes email him to let him know they're taking 20 prisoners from his jail.

The state reimburses about $32 per day for state prisoners. Overcrowding takes that money away.

"Instead of spending $1.3 to $1.5 million out of our general fund, we're spending $2.2 to $2.3 million," said Clark.

That's a $700,000 difference. In other words, the problem isn't just affecting prisoners.

"The taxpayers of Madison County are footing the bill for maintaining a jail for these prisoners," said the judge-executive.

That could mean money out of Madison County pockets unless something is done.

"The bottom line is eventually--and sooner than later we're gonna have to--bite the bullet and build a jail expansion," said Clark.

Thomas added, "The county is growing, and this 195 bed facility is not gonna work."

The numbers at the jail for Wednesday, July 31st were 195 beds for 261 inmates.

Overpopulation is a trend in neighboring counties, as well: Woodford County's facility had 95 beds and 97 inmates--they called it over average--on Wednesday.

In Jessamine County, there were 137 beds for 162 beds--they said it wasn't unusual.

But in Clark County, empty beds--109 inmates for 170 beds.
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