by Derek Gilna
After numerous failed inspections and failures to perform necessary maintenance, the jail in Estill County, Kentucky was forced to close by order of state correctional officials on March 31, 2017. Approximately two dozen prisoners were transferred to other facilities. This is the second time the county jail has been involuntarily closed; the first was for health code violations.
Approximately two weeks before the most recent closure, state correctional officials said the jail had failed its final inspection, largely due to its inability to make repairs to its sprinkler and smoke evacuation systems. Jailer Bo Morris said the facility simply lacked the funds needed to make those repairs.
According to Estill County Judge-Executive Wallace Taylor, the county is able to place prisoners at other jails, including in Bourbon, Clay, Jackson, Lee and Powell counties, for $25 to $35 a day excluding transportation costs.
Morris was critical of the jail’s closure, saying, “I need my job. I’ve got bills to pay. But if he don’t want to give me what I need to do this and do it right, I’ll give him my keys and walk out the door.”
Judge Taylor indicated he had appealed to the Kentucky Department of Corrections in an attempt to work out a solution that will allow the jail to reopen.
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