A goal jailer Phil Gregory set out for himself when taking office in 2015, was to find a way to increase revenue at the detention center to help offset what the county has to pay to keep the facility running. Gregory has done it to the tune of over a million dollars in less than one year.
When the jail was built over 20 years ago it was supposed to be self-sufficient, however, over the years the county has had to subsidize the institution with millions of dollars of taxpayer money. The county pays between $500,000-$600,000 annually to keep the jail doors open. But now, thanks to Gregory’s increasing of the state inmate population, those subsidies are shrinking.
A state inmate is someone who has been processed through the judicial system and is now serving out their sentence. A large percentage of a state inmate’s stay at the jail is paid for by the Commonwealth. A county inmate is someone who is awaiting the judicial process and their stay is paid for from the local tax-base. Which means, even though a state inmate’s stay is technically still paid from citizen’s taxes, it leaves local dollars alone to be spent within the community.
Early in 2014, under the direction of interim jailer Jim Ray, the state inmate population began to rise. In May of that year there were 42 state inmates residing at the jail. This was a large increase from what the jail had before Ray came aboard to fill in for a former jailer who left before his term ended. As of last Tuesday, May 10, just two years later, there are 109 state inmates at the jail. Although this number fluctuates, it is on a record rise.
From June 2015 to May 10, 2016, revenue collected from the increase of state inmates at Logan County’s Detention Center is $1,034,470. Gregory accomplished this by adding 42 additional beds at the jail and aggressively seeking those inmates who have been processed. He also did it by communicating with the judges and county attorney in hopes of a quicker processing.
“We couldn’t have done this without the cooperation of the judges and county attorney Joe Ross for handling their case loads expeditiously,” said Gregory. “And we couldn’t have done this without the dedicated staff at the jail.”
Gregory added that anytime you can bring tax dollars back to Logan County to help relieve the taxpayers of the financial burden of the jail, it is a good thing.
Another benefit of raising the state inmate population is the work release program. This is where a qualified inmate can go out into the community during the day and work.
“In 2015 state inmates gave back over $1 million in community service to Logan County,” said Gregory.
Some of those who utilize the work release program are Russellville’s Parks and Cemetery Departments, Auburn’s City Parks Department, Kentucky’s State Road Department, Logan County’s Humane Society, Logan County’s Recycling Center, East Logan Water and the Russellville-Logan County Airport to name a few.
“I always knew more money could be made if we just put our minds and work behind it,” said Gregory, who does not want all the credit, but instead sees it as a conglomerate effort for the betterment of the community as a whole.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.