Fiscal court discusses Madison County inmate contract

Published 6:30 am Thursday, December 22, 2016

STANFORD – Now that Garrard County inmates will no longer be housed in Lincoln, fiscal court magistrates are moving forward with negotiations for a new contract with another county. 
Lincoln Jailer Rob Wilson detailed plans to take in Madison County inmates during the Lincoln County Fiscal Court meeting on Dec. 20. 
“We’ve been in negotiations with Madison County,” Wilson said. “We want to set a minimum on our contract of 30 inmates, with a maximum of 10 females at any one time.”
Wilson said this would allow the county to keep its options open for the future. 
“Part of this is due to the fact that the state is still looking into private prisons,” he said. “So if the state opens to private prisons and starts pulling state inmates, we can always go back to Madison County and say ‘give us more inmates.’”
Currently, Madison County sends their “overflow” inmates to Clay County, Wilson said. 
“When we’re done with this and everything’s good to go, I will actually go and make physical contact with their jailer and sit down and talk to him,” he said. 
Wilson said Madison County suggested sending inmates who have already been sentenced, that way they “don’t have to mess with court.” 
“They’ve also said if they had an inmate who had an extended stay in a hospital, like UK (University of Kentucky) they would send deputies to cover that, we wouldn’t have to,” he said. 
The contract with Garrard County – which was terminated by the Lincoln fiscal court after several allegations were made by the Garrard judge-executive – is set to expire today (Thursday), which Wilson warned magistrates of on Tuesday. 
County Attorney Daryl Day said Garrard County will still be obligated to pay for their inmates on an ongoing basis until they are all relocated. 
Last week, Garrard Judge-Executive John Wilson said the county was pursuing legal action against the Lincoln jail for alleged discrepancies in billing and potential violation of inmates’ Constitutional rights for not permitting them to participate in the work program. 
Eligible inmates approved for work detail are able to earn credit on their sentence. Following the threats of legal action, Lincoln County voted to terminate the contract and send a 30-day written notice to Garrard County alerting them of the decision. 
Lincoln Judge-Executive Jim Adams said despite the allegations, it was an “amicable split” and since most jails in the state are dealing with overcrowding issues, adequate time would be given to Garrard County to remove their inmates. 
“If they’re not contractually obligated to pay us we’re not contractually obligated to keep them and I don’t think the state is going to let us get out of keeping them until they find somewhere. We can’t just kick them out on the street,” Day said. 
Magistrate David Faulkner questioned whether the jail was charging enough for inmates in general. 
Currently the state inmate rate is $31.34 per inmate per day, which is what LCRJ was charging Garrard County for their inmates. 
“I don’t think we should keep anybody’s prisoners for $31 a day,” Faulkner said. “I think if we’re going to keep somebody else’s prisoners – not only the physical mental and  toll on your people, and the toll that’s on that old structure. It’s a 72-bed jail. We shouldn’t be over 72 people unless we’re making money.” 
Faulkner added Garrard County still owes the county money on their contract but didn’t specify the total amount. 
Magistrates voted unanimously to approve a motion giving Judge-Executive Jim Adams the authority to sign the contract with Madison County to house their prisoners upon the recommendation of Day and Wilson. 
The magistrates voted to enter into an executive session to discuss pending litigation but no action was taken. 
In other business, the fiscal court: 
• reappointed Sheree Gilliam to the Lincoln County Industrial Authority Board. 
• voted to enter into five-year contract with Revize to create and maintain a county government website. Magistrates approved a one-time fee of $3,000 and $1,800 annual fee. 
• accepted Justin Poynter’s bid for mowing and weed-eating at Veteran’s Park for 30 weeks. Poynter’s bid of $25,250 was the lowest of the six bids.