Crittenden County leaders say jail extension will put money back into county

Leaders in Crittenden County say a new extension on the jail is going to bring money back into the community. They just completed renovations on the building we first showed in March.

The renovated building will be used as a restricted custody center, which houses state inmates with the lowest level of felonies in the work release program.

"I hope you’ll please consider giving me the privilege of coming to work for you," Lt. Athena Abshire, Crittenden County Detention Center class D coordinator. 

Abshire has piles of letters she receives daily from state inmates looking to get a new start to life.

"There’s just tons of them. Everyone of them is someone who’s just looking to come here and do programs," Abshire said.

Abshire oversees class D inmates at the jail. Many leave, and many return.

"If you throw them out with no hope of improvement, they’ll be back," she says.

To prevent this, the jail turned this building into a restricted custody center specifically designed for inmates getting ready to transition back into the community. They are all in the work release program and leave custody to work on projects throughout the community.

Last month former Marion, Kentucky, City Administrator Mark Bryant was arrested, accused of trafficking synthetic drugs to inmates in the work release program. Bryant’s case has been sent to a grand jury. Abshire says the jail will continue holding all inmates and the supervisors who oversee them accountable.

"This is going to be a really positive step forward for Crittenden County," Abshire said.

Abshire hopes to get inmates back on track with the restricted custody center, and hopefully send more money into the community.
The county spent $650,000 out of its general budget last year to run the jail. with the addition of the new beds, that adds up to another $440,000 coming into the county per year. Of that, $200,000 will be used to pay the costs of running the extension, and $240,000 will go back to the county.

Judge Executive Perry Newcom says a lot of county buildings need upgrades and that money can be used to make those. The project costs about $240,000. The county will pay $2,500 per month over the next 10 years to pay that off. Inmates will be moved in to the new building on Friday. With the addition, the detention center has room for about 170 inmates.

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