Overcrowding sends inmates to old, outdated jail - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Overcrowding sends inmates to old, outdated jail

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Jail officials said despite getting criticism they had no choice but to shift several inmates to the city's old, outdated jail above Louisville Metro Police headquarters. Jail officials said despite getting criticism they had no choice but to shift several inmates to the city's old, outdated jail above Louisville Metro Police headquarters.
Kelly Feiock Kelly Feiock
Alejandro Rodriguez has been arrested more than 150 times. Alejandro Rodriguez has been arrested more than 150 times.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Corrections is so full jail officials started moving inmates out. 

Jail officials said despite getting criticism they had no choice but to shift several inmates to the city's old, outdated jail above Louisville Metro Police headquarters.

Despite being told by a state inspector not to do it, some 75 inmates began making the move to the old jail just before 6 p.m. Monday.

"Not only are they in their bunks, but they're on the floor sleeping and we just can't fit anymore (inmates)," said Kelly Feiock, Louisville Metro Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

Feiock said, "We don't have the proper fire safety codes in place, but right now,  we're so over capacity, we really don't have an option."

Feiock said, they are calling in extra staff in case, for example, smoke alarms don't go off. Jail employees are being paid overtime to call the fire department.

"We're going to be over budget because of it," Feiock said of the overtime, "It can cost us up to $13,000 a week."

WAVE 3 News obtained the e-mail sent from Metro Corrections to Jefferson County Judges letting them know 75 beds in the old jail were being activated because the in-bed population count Monday morning was well over capacity at 2,071 inmates - that's 23 more inmates than the week before and well over the jail recommendation of 1900.

The hope? Tuesday morning arraignment court won't be sending as many inmates their way.

Feiock suggested, "Maybe if you have a minor offender that could actually do home incarceration or maybe they could be put on work release so they don't actually have to be behind bars and clogging up the jail."

Many of those taking up prime jail space have drug and alcohol problems. Still, others have mental health issues or they're homeless and can't make bail.

"Some of them have such minor offenses like stealing food, Feiock said, "and I'm not sure they should really be behind bars for that."

There are people like Alejandro Rodriguez. According to a police report in one instance, Rodriguez called 911 at a gas station saying there was a bomb in his beer. At the time Metro Corrections Chief Mark Bolton said, "If the cops bring them, we're taking them."

Rodriguez had been arrested 152 times when we did the story a few months ago, since then, he's been back three times. Most recently, Rodriguez was booked August 5, for alcohol intoxication and 3rd degree terroristic threatening, both misdemeanors.      

With all the money spent on overtime and possible fines for ignoring state warnings, we asked the Mayor's office about budgeting money to fix up the old jail.  Mayor Spokesperson Chris Poynter said it's a balancing act right now and they can't justify spending millions of dollars to upgrade a facility that would be rarely used.

The last time the old jail was used was about 18 months ago. Poynter says the city does have committee looking at the jail overcrowding issue right now.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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