After 8 drug arrests, local leaders discuss where Keeton Corrections goes from here

PADUCAH — Paducah Police Chief Brian Laird and the rest of the police department are resting a bit easier after getting eight accused drug dealers off the streets. Seven of the eight arrested are current, or former inmates at the Keeton Corrections facility in Paducah.

Police say they caught an accused dealer when an undercover officer bought drugs from an inmate. The accused drug offenders aren’t the only Keeton inmates caught by police.

“We executed a search warrant at the facility, and in doing so there were numerous other individuals who had their privileges revoked, and they were taken to jail,” says Laird.

Laird says inmates had things like knives, homemade shanks, cellphones, and marijuana, none of which are allowed.

“So how long has that been going on?” asks Paducah City Commissioner Richard Abraham.

Abraham has been an outspoken critic of Keeton when incidents have happened in the past. He says while this isn’t a good thing, he hopes it is the beginning of things changing for the better.

“We just have to trust that what is going on right now with Director Estes that he is going to turn that page and everyone will get the message there,” says Abraham.

Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless says she thinks if ran properly, Keeton could be an asset to the community.

“Are we going to be the type of community that believes in people who are going to have second changes?” says Harless.

Harless says for people to have the ability to rehabilitate, Keeton is going to have to hold up its end of the deal.

“That’s the intention of the city commission, of the city manager, of the police chief is to make sure we are holding them accountable,” says Harless.

Abraham says if things like this continue to happen at Keeton, they may have to look at shutting the facility down.

“Think about what happened here in the last couple of days. Who wants that in their neighborhood? Who wants that? And it’s all coming from one facility,” says Abraham.

Laird says it’s his understanding that Keeton is looking at implementing new policies to keep something like this from happening again. We reached out to the local Keeton Director, Rob Estes, to see what those changes are, but he says due to corporate policy, he cannot talk to media about things like this. We also tried calling corporate, but they told us the person we needed to talk to is out of town until next week.

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