The Logan County Jail is full – over full – and what to do about the amount of county inmates at the jail is a question that has no easy answer. However, it is one that magistrate Dickie Carter wants an answer too.
Logan County Jailer Phil Gregory gave a head count of the jail at the bi-monthly meeting of the Logan County Fiscal Court. As of Tuesday, Aug. 11 there were 188 inmates in the county’s jail. Out of those 78 are classified state, with 110 county. This is a substantial population increase in recent months.
The jail’s population fluctuates weekly depending on how many arrests are made and how many cases are settled through the judicial process. The jailer really has no way to know how many inmates he will house until they end up on the doorstep. Nor does he have the power to decrease the population, other than giving up state inmates to make room for county ones, which is also really a decision that is not left up to him, but the Department of Corrections.
If an inmate’s case is settled in a court of law and they are found guilty and sentenced, they then become what is known as “state” inmates. This means a large portion of their stay at the local jail will be paid for by the Commonwealth. If an inmate is sitting in the county jail awaiting his case to be heard, they are considered a “county” inmate and their stay is paid for from county money.
Carter has been asking the question for a few months now, “Why so many county inmates?”
County Attorney Joe Ross said at the Tuesday, Aug. 11 meeting that the police were doing a good job. He noted if those on probation break the law they come back into the system.
“I really don’t think the numbers are off with other counties our size,” said Ross.
Gregory suggested the county look into building on to the jail to accommodate the county numbers. Currently the local jail can only house 80 on the county side.
“The court may want to look into building a bigger jail,” said Gregory. “I think we need to build on. I think we need more room.”
Carter agreed with Gregory.
“The jail population has gotten much bigger since Phil took over. When you are overcrowded, you have to have a plan. I think it would be a good idea to build on,” said Carter.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin addressed Carter’s statements at the Tuesday, Aug. 11 meeting.
“You just complained about there being too many and now you want to build on. That doesn’t make any sense,” said Bouldin to Carter.
Magistrate Jack Crossley mentioned putting the inmates in a tent, to which Carter responded, “Good answer Jack. Let’s go on and stop wasting time.”
Forty-one new beds have just been added to the class D side of the jail, which is where the state inmates are housed. This was done to allow for more state inmates to be housed, which cuts down on what the county spends on the jail annually. There has been a savings of approximately $65,000 a month lately due to the state inmate population growing. However, with the county inmate numbers going up as well, it defeats the purpose as state inmates could eventually be removed by the Department of Corrections for lack of space.
To contact Chris Cooper, email email@example.com or call 270-726-8394.