The Jessamine County Fiscal Court is aligning with the detention center in a concentrated effort to expand the massively overcrowded jail.
The Jessamine County Detention Center (JCDC) has 118 beds but at times has housed as many as 170 inmates, forcing them to sleep on mats on the floors — if there are enough mats. When there is not room, the county has had to pay to transport inmates to other counties and return them for court dates.
Jailer Jon Sallee has said that there is a move to expand the jail but would not comment further this week. He said that “there are no details because no decisions have been made.”
On Monday, the fiscal court voted to accept Nicholasville real-estate agent Ruby Mason to look into acquiring connecting property next to the JCDC for the specific purpose of expansion.
Magistrate Bobby Day Wilson wanted to clarify a maximum 3-percent fee for Mason before acquiring her services.
The lot they are considering is on the jail’s west side and is 260 feet long and about 60 feet wide, wide enough for expansion. But there is the possibility of not purchasing adjacent land and building up instead of out.
The effort to expand the jail began in 2009 with former jailer Cecil Moss, who initiated a feasibility study to map out the jail’s needs.
Moss recommended to the fiscal court that the jail expand by no fewer than 100 beds in 2009.
Last week, the court heard from two architect firms being considered for the expansion project.
CMW, Inc. of Lexington made its presentation at last Tuesday’s regular meeting and presented three proposals for the multi-million-dollar expansion. CMW’s plan worked within the confines of the property already owned by the county and showed one plan that built two stories up instead of expanding outward.
JKS Architect & Engineers out of Hopkinsville also made a presentation last week. They suggested a178-bed detention-center design but did not have or know the parameters of the current property owed by the county.
Neither architect firm could estimate the cost of the expansion, but they gave ballpark estimates of $5 million to $7 million.
No decision or vote has been made to expand the jail by the court, but the plans to do so are moving in that direction, county attorney Brian Goettl said.