Jail expansion, sheriff move proposed

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By Rebecca Morris

Grayson County’s detainees — and its deputies — need some new digs, the county’s jailer and sheriff said recently.
During Friday’s Grayson County Fiscal Court meeting, Jailer Jason Woosley asked magistrates if he could start looking into whether it would be possible to add onto the Grayson County Detention Center’s main facility on Shaw Station Road in Leitchfield.
An expansion could ease overcrowding there as well as allow male and female prisoners to be held on the same property, he said.
Currently, the county operates three jails that are rated to hold a total of 519 prisoners.
Men are held at the Shaw Station Road building, which was completed in 2001. Woosley said it was designed to hold 409 men, but its current average capacity is around 650.
“We’re crowded most every day,” he said.
Women are held in the former county jail, which is on the ground floor of the Old Judicial Center on Leitchfield’s East White Oak Street. The Detention Center Annex — normally used to house juveniles — is behind the women’s facility on South Heyser Drive.
In addition to county prisoners, Grayson County houses inmates for the state and federal systems. While they add to the crowding, they bring in needed revenue — Woosley has said Grayson County’s is the only financially self-sufficient jail in the state in part because of the number of federal inmates held there.
Any expansion could take years to be approved, Woosley said.
“There’s lots of red tape involved,” he told magistrates. “It might not even happen.”
The General Assembly and the state Department of Corrections would have to sign off on whatever plans the county develops, including possible financing for the work.
Magistrates approved Woosley getting the ball rolling.
Sheriff Norman Chaffins said the county soon will need to consider extensive repairs and renovations to the sheriff’s office on Leitchfield’s Public Square or a move to another building.
He said with Leitchfield considering building a new police station, the current one on South Main Street could become deputies’ new headquarters. Another possibility is the current Grayson County Public Library on East Market Street, he said. The library will be moving into a new building on West Carroll Gibson Boulevard later this year.
Magistrates also:
* Heard complaints about the lack of progress on the Bloomington Road bridge from some of the more than 100 homeowners impacted by its closure.
In late September the county accepted a $123,050 bid from DO All Construction of Caneyville to replace the 50-foot long bridge. The firm was selected for the amount of its bid and because it’s a Grayson County business.
When the bid was accepted, magistrates specified they wanted the work done within 60 days. The original bid specifications, though, didn’t include any type of financial penalties if that deadline wasn’t met.
After hearing complaints last month from the residents — who have to make a lengthy detour — magistrates and County Judge-Executive Gary Logsdon asked County Attorney Clay Ratley to write the company asking that work begin as soon as possible, and warning future business with the county could be jeopardized by unnecessary delays in the project.
The obviously annoyed magistrates and judge asked Ratley on Friday to begin exploring ways to break the contract with DO All and hire another firm.