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Cramming in the inmates

January 12, 2008 by David Stephenson  
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by David Stephenson | staff

Like many in Kentucky, the Kenton County jail and the Lincoln County Regional jail is seriously overcrowded and outdated, and yet the state contracts with them to hold state prison inmates because there are no available beds in the state prisons. Kenton County Jailer Terry Carl is concerned enough about the crowding that he has been slowly reducing his involvement with the state’s contract-prisoner program, and Lincoln County Jailer David Gooch has big ideas about a new jail.

Read the story by John Cheves.

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40 Responses to “Cramming in the inmates”
  1. Don says:

    I commend Mr. Cheves for highlighting this very important issue that has been growing steadily worse over the years.

  2. Mike says:

    I too commend Mr. Cheves for brining to light the fact our jails and prisons are way over cowered. Yes, a lot of this has to do with the unbalance of laws to punishment. But more has to do with the policy and procedures set forth by the Department of Corrections. Mainly I’m speaking about he Probation and Parole Department.
    First of all it’s hard enough to even make parole, but when one does leave it to the Probation and Parole Officer to look for the smallest infraction to Revoke the person’s parole. Yes, it cost the state a lot of money to send each parolee back to prison. Most of which does NOT deserve to be sent back. So, if Gov. Besher would Really like to know how to make some cost savings from the prisons, then go else where for help and not to John Reese or any of the ones who make the policy and procedures. John Reese has already cost this state A LOT of unnecessary spending.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think that the KY Jailers do an excellent job and the the fingers are pointed at the wrong people who are truly responsible for the overcrowded jails. The Courts…prosecutors and judges should be held accountable and are given too much discretion when it comes to sentencing. Until they are reasched, KY will continue to spend money on its inmate population. The jails cant refuse a prsioner, unless they are not medically fit to be in the jail. So when the judges sentence unreasonably, the jailers have to take that prisoner or face contempt, malfeasance, etc. for not doing so.

  4. Brenda says:

    This is a remarkable story. In 1990, while attending College in Louisville, Kentucky, I wrote about the same subject. as a class project while an undergraduated in Paralegal studies. Jail overcrowding. This issue creates an unhealthy envioronment for the prisoners whom I mind you are innocent until proven guilty. Folks, those so called over crowded jails are housing for the accused and minor offensive prisoners. I beleive that 18 years later after I wrote my story that this is a subject which gives Doctors the opporturniety to stand for and speak about the statistics of all jails in the Commonwealth and warn about unfair dieseased cells which may ulnltimately carry in to the real world, jail employees , the families and neighbors after the release of some one whom has been incarcerated. This problem has gotten worse. This is unfair to those who have never been incarcerated to be standing by some one who has. Jailers, employees and incarcerated jail people, please tell your Doctor about what you witness on a daily event. Scream for help!

  5. Shirley says:

    There is not need for a jail to be filthy! No matter how crowded, the inmates can be told to clean their own space. Given a wash cloth and some bleach.
    We need legislation to see that things are changed in our correction system. We have people who are addicted to pills jailed with murderers. The addict goes to jail and the child predator goes free. It is like sending someone to jail for having cancer or Parkinson’s…or senility! It’s ignorant.

  6. JANET KAY says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    Like stated in this article, jails are meant to hold only those who are still on trial so they can be close to the courthouse. To hold state & federal prisoners in local jails is cruel. There is absolutely nothing for them to do, no libraries, no reform, no sunshine. Think about it, what would that be like? I don’t sympathize so much for the violent criminals because we have to keep them behind bars to protect the innocent, but non-violent offenders don’t deserve this kind of punishment. Send them home with ankle bracelets and/or order treatment. Locking them up like animals is only going to make them worse, and possibly turn them into violent criminals. I say put more money in treatment programs & let the non-violent offenders out of these overcrowded jails.

  8. Gary says:

    As a busness person, I would send the truck driver home with a braclet, let his state be responsable for him. It has cost the stat of kentucky close to $7000 to keep a man who for 61 years has not had a run in with the law. How many out of state minor offence prisnors( I mean first timers not short time repete offenders )are we supporting in our systems? There has to be a better way for both prisons and non voilent prisoners. It is a growing concern in all states . I hope our new govoner can come up with a solution

  9. Charles Gamarski says:

    I find it hard to believe, the overall ignorance and incompatence of the decision makers here in KENTUCKY. And am really disappointed in John Cheves, for not responding to my e-mail. I am house mgr. of OXFORD HOUSE/MAXWELL. I use the description of house mgr only to describe myself in terms that would be more easily understood. I am actually just one of the men living in this sober living,alcohol/drug free family house. We have [3] three houses here in lexington, providing for 30 men. I choose to invite any and all to join us for a cup of coffee day or night to see what makes this work. 431 E. Maxwell St. 523-3026.
    our first guys leave for work at 3:00a.m. Want to see the solution to the jail overcrowding problem. Come over and visit us. Ask for CHARLIE and you’ll get a taste of something sweet with your coffee. What a nice day to start the day. O.K. NOW LET’S STOP and talking aBOUT A BAD SITUATION, let’s put some ACTION behind our words. STOP BY AND VIEW THE SOLUTION.

  10. Beth says:

    I have a fiancee who had a problem with alcohol, he last year was involve in an auto accident and a woman who was pregnant, lost her baby due to the accident. He was made an example of for drinking and driving and is currently serving his time. He is learning his lesson the hard way though, with the overcrowding of jails and prisons going on these programs to rehabilate people like himself from alcohol/ drugs are on a waiting list which is pretty long by the way. This is the way it is on all there programs in the prison that he is at. He wishes each day that no one had gotten hurt that day but they did and he is trying to learn to live with that for the rest of his life. He has a broken ankle that he had two surgeries on before they came to lock him up and since he is not allowed to use crutches when he needs them or a cane he has to walk on this leg and his ankle is still broken. I recently had to call the prison to get them to look at his ankle, cause he has been there for over four months and no doctor has seen him yet. Cruel and unusal is what I think of it. I know he has to serve for what he has done, I just agree with what others have said that the judges, prosecutors, should take a look at the problem of the overcrowding and decide on what is appropriate for each situation that comes before them, and find a way to make things better in these prisons and jails. After all these are still human beings, we are talking about.

  11. Debbie says:

    In 2004 my son broke a liquor store window. He was charged with breaking and entering. He did get probation intil 2010. In 2007 he got drink on his birthday. In December he was sent to county jail-violation. In January 2008 he was sent to VOA in Louisville, this was a free program and he did nto have any money. When he got his tax check he spent it on getting into BETA in Frankfort, this is 28 to 30 day program. On the 31st day he was kicked out because someone jumped on his back and after several request for the guy to get off he removed the other guy. He and the other guy were told to leave. He reported to his PO, his lawyer-court appointed got punched in the face on national television lawyer-and the judge. The next day he reported to his PO and was taken to jail-violation for not completing the program. He has a bed reserved at a halfway house in E-town where he can work and support his 3 month old, which was born while he was at VOA. His PO would rather him do 2 years in jail. AND THEY WONDER WHY THE JAILS ARE OVERCROWDED. ITS TIME FOR OUR ELECTED, BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE, TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE PEOPLE.

  12. Juanita Church says:

    I think whats sad is my brother Jamie Wash Church is in Casey county jail, hes been there for two months and I havent heard a thing from him,me and him are close.

  13. Christie Hensley says:

    I am the wife of a man who is in prison in Kentucky for something very petty. My husband did not do any thing illegal to violate his parole he was working everyday and taking care of his new born son. He is now lodged in Marion county jail and has a 12 month deferment from the parole board. He is a nonviolent offender and is very much needed by his family and even though we are willing to pay for home incaration we can’t get any help as to what we can do. My husband is two hours away from his 11 month old son and has not been able to see him since his incaration on March 4th. Any help form ANYONE would be greatly appericated. please send e-mails to Thank you so much for your help. If I can get my husband home I will gladly help anyone else getting their husbands, sons, daughters and wives home as well. Thank you agian.

    • you know who christie says:

      yes chuck did do something wrong according to his parole papers wasnt he supposed too report once a month???? yes. did he NO was he supposed to be doing drugs??? NO was he YES!! was he supposed to leave the state??? NO but where was he arrested??? OHIO where he had been living on the run for several months with you and werent you also on the run from the state of ky as well you were arresested to werent you? yep i belive you were the both of you were givin a chance and both of you took advantage of that and ran so yes christie he is were he is supposed to be

      • Charles is where he belongs .Christie had moved on to other victom .
        She is a con artist .Thinks she is the greatest but I have met better than her .she also is wanted all over thestate of Ky for felonies

  14. Larry Boykin says:

    Have your city officials take a trip to Arizona and check out their way of dealing with inmate’s. They for the most part don’t EVER come back to his jail.

  15. carrie mounce says:

    yes if they wearied about sex offenders like they did drug we would be doing good I think that if you have a drug problem and they no it they should get you the help you need not send you to prison like they did my husband myself & he had went and ask them to get him some help they said yes they would and did they no they didnt all they were wearied about was sending him to jail thats it all we wonted was for him to go to a drug rehab and no he did not have any dirtiy drug test at that time all he wonted was help not prison time he didnt need that and neater did we now it is me and five kids and there dad we havent got to see him for 2 months we are in Somerset & he,s in LaGrange and right now I have no car to take them to see him . the reason am so down on sexoffenders is because our child was sexually abuse by a family member and all he got was 5years on paper no prison time and yes they had a tape confession if you ask me he should be the one in prison not my husband he did hurt our child and thats why he turned to drug it was one of his family members and no we or no one else would have thout of him doing something like this he just didnt seam to be that way OBOYwas we wrong dont never depend on our system for things like putting sexoffeneds away because they wont .they wont to fill the prisons&jails with people that have drug problems instead of getting them the help they need … WE AS PARENTS DEPENDED ON THE SYSTEM FOR PUTTING HIM AWAY AND THEY FAILED US AS PARENTS NO WOUNDER PEOPLE DONT COME FORWARD AND TAKE IT IN THEIR OWN HANDS.we did hurt him in his own home and they where going to put 3 diffrent charges on us for doing what we did yes it was wrong of us for doing what we did but what he did was more wrong then what we did we as a family struggle each and ever day because she has to see him each and ever because he is only 0.7 mile away from us he is just the next driveway down no he is not registered as a sexoffened because we did not put her on the stand because the judge said he would take her in his chambers and he didnt on pretrail he put her on the stand right in front of him came you imagin how she felt and we where told notting about this until it was done so we felt that with the judge already lieing to us about putting her stand why put her though anymore she is to wonderful for that .BECAUSE IN THE END AM GLAD I DONT HAVE FACE OUR HIGHER JUDGE IN THE END HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THIS FOR US ALL AND AM GLAD IT,S NOT ME all am saying is our system needs to be used for better thing then people with drug problems.

  16. edna teague says:

    kenton county jail is always over jam packed but the jailers are real kool with the inmates and thay treat us like we are humans instead of crimals i have not been there in a long time and plan not to go there anytime soon but jailetrs keep up the good work;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  17. Darren says:

    I’m a convicted felon myself,so i don’t want it 2 seem as if i’m looking 4 anyone 2 bfeel sorry 4 me! The people who came up with the PFO law,has said that it wasn’t meant 4 non-violent crimes! So what is the hold up on Fixing the PROBLEM!!!! I did my time on one sentence and was out 4 4yrs.,2 and a half I was doing great went 2 barbering school,got my CDL’s,and had my on business selling cloths. Yes,I did get back in the game and caught other charges. The time I ended up with didn’t fit the crime!After being hit with the PFO2,from it doubled the time I copped out 2 5yrs. 2 10yrs. One charge carried 1-5yrs. the other charge carried 5-10 those charges were run concurrent 4 a total of 5 yrs. the pfo double my time. I copped out because if I lost a trial I was lookin a a life sentence.Everyone cops out because if u go 2 trialand u lose u get 4 ever! I’m talking about stealing a candybar,writing a bad check,being a drug user getting caught with a 5 dollar rock r tools used 2 get high. Come on now thats crazy!! Just make the sentence fit the crime!

  18. April says:

    I know this article is from 2008 but the jail is still overcrowded and getting worse. I talked to a family member today and wanted to search out what a “boat” was because I had no clue jails had these or what they were. He is currently in Kenton County jail and there are 19 inmates to a cell which are supposed to hold 10 inmates.
    I feel for the inmates as well as the people who work in the jail.

  19. Patti says:

    I was falsely accused by a social worker of assaulting her after I filed a formal complaint with the governor’s officer about her falsifying reports and failing to protect my stepchild from the biological mother’s boyfriend (the mother and boyfriend have about 70 arrests, and many convictions, mostly for drugs). Even though I am 53 and never in trouble before, and never used alcohol or drugs, had an honorable career, etc. I was arrested with no investigation and jailed 8 days before I got an arraignment. During that period, I suffered some kind of small stroke and the guards refused to let me see a doctor, judge, or call a lawyer until I “confessed”. It was the worst hell imaginable – I was locked down 24/7 in a 7X8 foot cell with 3 inmates. This experience has given me a new insight into how inhumane Kentucky treats its prisoners, and the total disregard of Magoffin County and Johnson County as to human rights, not to mention constitutional violations. I was tortured in there as well but the other inmates told me that if I filed another complaint, they would simply re-arrest me on bogus charges again. My entire life I believed the system worked, but now I believe Kentucky is full of vindictive, dangerous bullies who have very little accountability. Not all the guards were cruel, but the bigger issue – as raised by many above – is why jail a small, non-violent grandmother in the first place? I am looking at 5 years in prison and even though my lawyer thinks I will be acquitted, I am so terrified of what has already happened that I am scared to testify at all. There can be all kinds of rules about how to treat prisoners (hint: it’s called the U.S. Constitution) but if it’s not applied, it is meaningless. We are from KY and have spent a lifetime away with the Marine Corps, but believe me, as soon as this is over with, we are never living in our home state again.

  20. Ann says:

    My husband left our house one day, to go get his brother who had called our house for 2 days saying his truck was torn up, he was at one of his friends house and wanting to get home, I told my husband go get him, my husband said do you want to take me I said no. my husband went to get his brother while he was there, the police came some woman that His brother had been seeing, was mad and called the law, ok the law shearched the mans house, and found pot plants in side and in the mans car found some of the stuff used to make Meth. They found nothing on my husband nothing in his truck! My husband has been in jail for over 500 days awaiting a jury trail. He has missed wellsoon to be his second Christmas with me and our son who is 10 years old he has missed one of our sons birthdays. They want him to tell the court something on his brother and the other man, and he says he knows nothing to tell. They have changed his court dates a couple times. My husbands lawyer who is court apointed says if my husband would tell he could go home. Now what is the stuff about inncent untill proven quilty, I do not have the money for a good lawyer and his bond is sat at 25000. dollars, He has lost his job from all this, he is not perfect but he sure doesnt deserve this, he is in lincoln county jail, he says it is over crowed . But no wonder it is not the jailers fault, it is the courts fault.

  21. Inga said “what a load of crap!” just for the sake of irony, but I’ll refrain

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