BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WOWK) – Overcrowding in jails is a problem nearly every community faces. Here at the Boyd County Jail in Catlettsburg. They have more than 300 people, but only 206 beds. Commissary officer Abbrielle Yates understands the problem.
“It gets kind of difficult because you’ve got the inmates, when it is overcrowded, they kind of get mad at each other because there’s so many in one cell,” Yates said. “Judges will allow them to go out and work which causes us to have less people to take care of.”
Many inmates, some even on misdemeanor charges, sleeping on a mat in the floor. Now, judges and prosecutors will decide if a crime warrants jail time. If not, the jailer, Bill Hensley, will oversee the community service that person has to serve.
“What’s good about this program is, it still puts consequences on negative actions,” Hensley said.
Hensley points to a new area built by inmates. He explains how Level 1 inmates, a plumber, a carpenter, and a “really good dry-wall guy,” were able to foster a sense of responsibility with their hard work. Something he and his staff hope happens with those avoiding jail-time via community service.
“Letting them know that there is a second chance and that people do care, you know, it makes their lives better,” Yates said.
With fewer inmates in the jail, officials say costs for security, food, and medical needs will go down, too. The program is expected to start July 1.