Of four surrounding counties, one jail had more non-compliance items than Clark County following Department of Corrections inspections.
According to state records, Montgomery County had 15 non-compliance items, Madison County had six, Estill County had five and Bourbon County had four. As previously reported in an Aug. 13 Sun story, Clark County had nine items to address and provide documentation for, including three repeated from 2010.
DOC officials accepted Clark County Jailer Bobby Stone’s resulting plan of action, but said more documentation was needed to prove two problems were corrected: the absence of a fire alarm test and a cell’s failed smoke evacuation test. As of Aug. 9, the jail had submitted documentation to show plans to correct these, but officals were waiting on a more detailed form to show when the alarm passed inspection by the alarm company, and on a copy of the smoke control/evacuation annual report.
Montgomery, Madison, Estill and Bourbon counties had some of the same compliance issues as Clark County, most notably overcrowding, which has been remedied in a lot of places with the passage of House Bill 463, which reduced numerous arrestable offenses to citable offenses, as well as furnishings that went against penal code and were not permanently attached, and problems with smoke evacuation systems inside cells.
Todd Henson, a Corrections public information officer, said it is hard to compare the compliance issues at different jails, because “you’re comparing basically buildings and structures.” He said the number of problems depends on factors like the age of the building and funding. It may be common for a new jail to be without compliance problems, he said, but as buildings age, “things get torn up.”
“It’s just hard to compare this county to this county,” he said.
Just as Corrections accepted Stone’s corrective action plan, the department accepted the other four counties’ plans originally, citing “good faith” efforts.
However, after a later visit to the Estill County jail, the inspector found that its corrective plan appeared to be “without merit,” and as of an Aug. 9 letter, Corrections had not received a response from the jail. The jailer was instructed to send an update within five days of that letter’s receipt.
As of Friday, Henson said Stone notified Corrections that the Clark County jail was waiting on parts to correct the smoke evacuation system and to repair the fire alarm, and that the company was scheduled to do those repairs that day.
Stone said that the company, Simplex, had been at the jail Friday morning but that one of the parts needed for the repairs was not working. He said the company would have to wait on the parts and would return upon receiving them.
“That wasn’t our fault,” he said. “It’s been Simplex ... and they’ve been really slow. I’ve not been pleased with their services.”
This is not the first time the jail has had troubles that delayed completion of equipment projects.
After a Corrections complaint that the jail did not have security cameras in November 2010, the county made a plan to get some installed. In July, the jail had to switch companies to get the second half of the cameras installed, after the former company’s workers were not showing up.
Henson expressed that Corrections would be understanding in situations like this.
“Like they said in their inspections, if they’re making a good faith effort to correct these, they’ll work with them,” he said. “If they get the part in and it’s not working, you know, they’ll work with them.”
Contact Katie Perkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @TheSunKatie.