9:46am

Tue August 21, 2012
The Commonwealth

Tight Quarters at Detention Center

There may be little room at the inn when it comes to spending time as an inmate at the Scott County Detention Center, jail personnel told magistrates of the Scott County Fiscal Court recently during a meeting. Twenty-eight people were taken to the Scott County Detention Center following a drug sting earlier this month, and some of them went to other detention facilities to alleviate crowding, jail officials said.

Scott County Jailer Larry Covington said some inmates were taken to other facilities in neighboring counties to keep the Scott County Detention Center on North Court Street from being extremely overcrowded. Additionally, jail workers were notified ahead of time the larger-than-usual number of inmates would be coming there.

When the 28 people were brought to the detention center, the jail then became 47 inmates over capacity, which is 86.

“We’re trying to keep it safe. I am very proud. We worked with the Sheriff’s Office and the Georgetown Police Department. We knew ahead of time,” Covington said. “Nobody was hurt. It went smooth. I’m very proud of them.”

Covington told magistrates he is concerned about staffing at the jail.

“It’s not safe the way our staffing is. How are we going to maintain the safety situation?” he said.

Covington repeated his message.

“I’m telling you our staffing situation down there is unsafe. I’m afraid from a safety standpoint. I’m sure not crying wolf. I’ve been there a long time,” he said.

Magistrate David Livingston said a jail is an inherently unsafe place, and it will not be completely safe.

“Tell me, write down for me, what we can do that is economically feasible to make the jail safer,” Livingston said.

Covington responded, “The point being is, all I want to do is protect those people and the liability of the county.”

He called the situation, “critical.”