Oldham Co. Detention Center offers controversial fundraiser

Oldham Co. Detention Center offers controversial fundraiser
This is the flier for the community fundraiser. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
This is the flier for the community fundraiser. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Oldham County Detention Center (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Oldham County Detention Center (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Oldham County Detention Center (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Oldham County Detention Center (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LA GRANGE, KY (WAVE) - 'Come spend the night in jail,' is the gist of the fundraiser that Oldham County's newest detention center is hosting.

As the new state-of-the-art jail prepares to open next month, several local groups are rallying against a fundraiser scheduled for Friday, Jan. 12.

The $23 million project has finally come to fruition. The new detention center, located in the 3400 block of W Hwy 146 in La Grange, has been in the works for several years now. It will serve as a relief for the 115 beds that are running short in the current jail in Oldham County.

"This area is one of the fastest growing areas in Kentucky and unfortunately there's a growing need for bed space," Jailer Mike Simpson said.

Simpson explained that he had every part in bringing the new detention center from an idea to an actual building.

"I wanted to make sure that every square foot was multi-purpose," Simpson explained.

With the work now finished, he has opened up the jail and invited people to come and take a look.

"I came up with the idea of doing this one-night sleep over," Simpson said. "The primary reason I came up with it was to give me an opportunity as a training session to train my staff on this building."

The fundraiser's name is 'This Joint is Jumpin.' A flier advertising the fundraiser stated:

"For a minimum donation of $100.00 to a participating organization 'volunteer inmates' will receive: one fun-night in jail, an exclusive tour of the new facility, dinner on Friday night, breakfast on Saturday morning, snacks throughout the evening, a framed souvenir mug shot photo, a valuable commemorative tee shirt to prove you were there."

Local groups like Black Lives Matter Louisville, Louisville Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Mijente spoke out, calling the fundraiser "ignorant."

"It's not even just to be an inmate, this is like an entire culture around enslavement and so we totally disapprove of it," Chanelle Helm with Black Lives Matter Louisville said.

"It's kind of creating a reality show environment over something that's very serious that's mass incarceration," Louisville SURJ representative Stephen Bartlett said. "[And] the separation and destruction of human lives by our system."

Jailer Simpson said the decision to hold the fundraiser was to serve a function and not to make a statement.

"This is not meant to offend anyone, the entire process was again [to] give me a chance to have my staff trained because this building can be intimidating," Simpson said.

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The jail is scheduled to be fully functional by February 2018. The fundraiser is scheduled to happen Friday.

Although the flyer states that a $100 donation can get you merchandise, Jailer Simpson clarified that a donation was not mandatory.

The proceeds from the fundraiser will be split among 15 different charities.

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