Former Director Rejoins Lexington Jail

 A man who built a 25 year career at the Lexington jail is back in a leadership position there. Ray Sabbatine was announced Thursday as the interim director of Community Corrections. He will take over for retiring director Ron Bishop on July 25. 

"I'm the one that decided to give up the elected office and to create a division under government. So I kind of feel responsible for how this place in the last ten years has evolved. And I think that we need to try to take a secondary look at it to make sure that what we thought was going be continues to happen in a positive fashion." 

The 62-year-old Sabbatine says the jail faces several challenges, primarily a lack of funding and resources. 

Sabbatine worked with Sheriff Kathy Witt on her annual review of jail operations. The Urban County Council will soon review whether the sheriff should completely oversee jail management. 

"I think the sheriff is very capable of running anything she wants to run. I think it's up to the council, the mayor, and the sheriff, and the criminal justice community to determine whether that's the best thing to do. That's not for me to decide." 

It's not clear how long Sabbatine will serve as interim director. Mayor Jim Gray's administration does not have a specific timeline for hiring a permanent director.