During Jenkins' report, Magistrate Dickie Carter changed the subject to inmate population and said he didn't understand why the Logan County Jail has so many county inmates. He said other counties have 15 or so where Logan County has 100 at times. ”Something is not right in Logan County,“ said Carter.
Jenkins told Carter that he understood what he was saying and that other counties for some reason or another do have fewer county inmates than Logan County. He said a lot of Logan's county inmates are repeat offenders, which means they get out the first time around only to come back for another charge.
Carter had asked Jenkins if there are beds available to accept more state inmates. Jenkins said there are but the state will not send the jail any additional state inmates if they are overcrowded, which- according to the numbers and Jenkins- they are. The state pays $30.60 a day to house an inmate where the county has to pay for its own inmates.
Jenkins said 80 percent of the county inmates are incarcerated for drug related charges. Magistrate Harold Prince asked County Attorney Tom Noe how many times can a person be charged with drugs before they are considered a habitual offender. Noe said the second offense is usually a felony. Carter said something had to be done. Noe said we have to keep people in jail to keep the public safe. He said he doesn't know why Logan County has so many local inmates and doesn't know what the factors are.
Neighboring county detention centers seem to prove Carter's concerns. According to Simpson County Jailer Danny Booher, his jail averages a 4 to 1 state-to-county inmate ratio. Booher said his county tries to average 130 state inmates, which is what their budget reflects. He said they are "very fortunate to have a court system that processes the county inmates in a timely manner, which has been very effective."
Booher said what is starting to hurt the county jails in the state and will continue to affect them in a negative way is the new state jail that has been built in Elliott County. He said they currently have a 600 bed capacity in phase one. He said in phase two there are going to be another 600 added, which will hurt county jails and their ability to receive state inmates.
Butler County's jail currently houses 22 state inmates and 17 county. A jail employee said they average more state than county. Muhlenburg County jail averages 150 state to 80 county. According to Warren County Jailer Jackie Strode, his jail currently houses 286 state inmates and 211 county. Strode said the ration has a lot to do with how many beds you have. He said his jail has 562 beds where Logan County's has much fewer. He said that makes a big difference.