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Louisville Jail Restores Inmate Log After Two Days Of Protests, 'Chaos'

Protesters in front of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections on Wednesday, September 23.
Protesters in front of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections on Wednesday, September 23.

The Louisville Metro Department of Corrections has restored its public online booking log afterit was down for nearly two days amid record protest-related arrests.

The agency’s online booking log, which allows users to search for individuals currently in custody, was offline starting Wednesday — the day Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that only one of the officers in the Breonna Taylor case, former LMPD detective Brett Hankison, would face criminal charges.

Cameron said Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove were justified when they shot Taylor, and they will not face any charges for their role in the shooting. Widespread protests followed, and LMPD began to declare unlawful assemblies and make arrests within hours.

The site tool was taken down due to “cybersecurity concerns” on Wednesday, Metro Corrections Assistant Director Steve Durham said in an email.

Durham said there were no specific threats or data breaches. Instead, “a few vulnerabilities were detected and with an eye toward the current environment the decision was made to temporarily take the site down and address those specific issues.”

The tool was back online shortly after WFPL wrote about the issue on Thursday. Durham hasn't responded to an email asking why it was restored.

In the meantime, it’s absence caused “chaos” for people like Rebecca Frederick.

Frederick is a volunteer with the Louisville Community Bail Fund who uses the inmate search, called XJail, every day. It’s how she tracks the police response to protests in real time and obtain inmates’ names, birthdates and, most crucially, the bond set by a judge. Without XJail, the information Frederick’s team can obtain is often incomplete or inaccurate, and it’s harder to get people out, she said.

Frederick was using the system to track the protests on Bardstown Road Wednesday, immediately following the grand jury announcement, when the system crashed.

Frederick said the timing was “extremely suspect.”

“It was clear to me that the jail system had made this decision to pull the plug on the ability for us to track our people on the inside, which creates chaos for us,” Frederick said.

There are other ways of obtaining information about people in jail: VINE, a tool for victims of crimes, allows users to find out when offenders will be released, but doesn’t include information that would help bail someone out. People can also call the jail directly, but Frederick said that only works about half of the time.

As of 11:30 Friday morning, Frederick said there was at least one person arrested at the protests who was still in jail because the search tool was offline. Frederick went to the bail window at the clerk's office, but she didn’t have enough information  to locate the individual. “We could not bail her out because XJail was down, because we had no proof that she was in there,” Frederick said. “As of this moment, she is still in there.”

Jared Bennett is an investigative reporter and deputy editor for LPM. Email Jared at jbennett@lpm.org.