Former Nelson County inmate says jail is riddled with problems

The Nelson County Jail was built for a female population of nine. Currently, 37 female inmates...
The Nelson County Jail was built for a female population of nine. Currently, 37 female inmates are incarcerated there. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Feb. 5, 2018 at 10:30 PM EST
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BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Like many jails around the state, Nelson County Jail is overcrowded. However, one former inmate has spoken out, saying that the problem extends beyond the numbers, especially for female inmates.

"There's black mold growing in the ceilings," the former inmate said. "The ceilings are peeling, the paint's chipping off."

She explained that there was an issue every day.

"There were like six worms," she said, recounting another inmate's tale. "They weren't normal worms that crawl out, she said they looked like baby leeches."

She also explained that the guards were apathetic towards another inmate who constantly had seizures. She said the guards would say things like, "Another one?" when the inmate would seize.

On top of that, she explained there's no place to sleep.

"You get stepped on a lot," she said. "I stepped on a girl getting down out of the bunk. You've got the bunks up against the wall, you've got a girl sleeping in between the bunk bed and the single bed, and then you've got three lined up. You can't even get in the door, the girls would have to wake up before you come in and pass out trays."

WAVE 3 News reached Jailer Dorcas Figg over the phone. Figg said those issues of overcrowding were an obvious problem that she had no fix for.

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The Nelson County Jail, according to Figg, was built for a female population of nine. Currently, 37 female inmates are incarcerated there. Overcrowding in the female wing is a problem that nearby counties like Hardin County and Shelby County have as well. But it's not as bad as Nelson County, where the population exceeds capacity by more than 400%.

"I don't expect it to be a nice hotel but the basics you know?" the former inmate said. "Make sure that we have medical treatment because we are still people. Not everyone in there is a thief, a lot of us just have problems and need help."

Figg also explained that the mold is a problem in the female showers. However, she added it was the inmates' responsibility to clean the showers daily. Figg said they are currently waiting for a place to relocate the female inmate population for 24 hours so they can treat the showers with a more permanent solution to the mold problem. However, she said she has been having difficulty finding a secure place for the inmates to go while the bathrooms are chemically treated.

Figg also added that there are currently 57 state inmates housed at Nelson County Jail. She said if the state could relocate those inmates somewhere else, the overcrowding issue wouldn't be as bad.

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