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Louisville Jail Inmates Being Sent To Overflow Facility

Jails in Louisville are beyond capacity.

Overcrowding in the city's three jail facilities is forcing local corrections officials to move some inmates to an unused and under-qualified facility atop the Louisville Metro Police Department, according to a news release from Steve Durham, assistant director of Louisville Metro Corrections.

Housing inmates in the facility is expected to cost up to $60,000 per month.

"I will shut it down as quickly as conditions allow," said Mark Bolton, director of Metro Corrections.

A surge in arrests and a slowing system for transferring state felony offenders from jail to prison have led to the overcrowded situation, Durham said.

The current daily inmate population at Metro Corrections is spiking above 2,000. There are 1,793 fixed beds, and some inmates are being forced to crowd into cots on the floor, per the department.

The crowding makes working conditions difficult for corrections officers, Bolton said.

Durham said there is no quick fix for reducing the number of inmates committed to Metro Corrections.

A spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department declined to comment. Metro Corrections officials said they would hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss the issue but made no further comment on Monday.

The three jail facilities currently operated by Louisville Metro Corrections include a main jail complex at 400 S. Sixth St., the Hall of Justice at Sixth and Jefferson streets, and the Community Correctional Complex at 316 E. Chestnut St.

The space above the police department can hold up to 140 inmates. It was built in the 1950s and fails to meet fire suppression and smoke evacuation standards, according to Metro Corrections. A heavy staff presence is also needed to operate the overflow space, per the release.

It's unclear how long inmates will need to be housed in the overflow facility. About 75 "minimum custody" inmates are being moved to the overflow facility today, according to the department.

This will mark the third time jail officials have moved inmates into the overflow facility since 2012.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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