LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Metro Corrections officials invited WHAS and our cameras inside the building that houses some of Louisville's most dangerous men and women.
Walking through the halls of Metro Corrections one thing is obvious—space is at a premium.
Director Mark Bolton said, "We are at an all-time high as far back as we have records available.”
He said the average dorm has beds for about 20 people but a quick look inside the jail shows nearly 40 people sharing the space. Tight quarters means many end up sleeping on the floor, against the wall and in the common space walkways.
It’s something officials said affects every part of the operation.
"All of our facilities with this many inmates, our laundry systems are taxed out, our food service systems are taxed out, our court movement is taxed out,” Bolton said.
Inmates are held in three different facilities, including the third floor of LMPD headquarters. It was re-opened last April as overflow space.
The area looks like what you see in the movies with large, metal rods separating the men from those passing through. The correction officers who stand guard there are working on overtime.
"It’s all overtime, every person, every shift, every day, every week, every month is an overtime expense, was not budgeted,” Assistant Director Steve Durham said.
Budget issues are only some of a long list the jail faces today. Drugs are near the top of the list.
"Yesterday there was an overdose, two days ago there was an overdose, last week there was an overdose,” Durham said.
Officials said many come into the jail with drugs already in the system and that’s why some of those overdoses happen on the booking floor. But they don't stop there, which means inmates are using once already inside, and those in charge say that’s a problem.
"Were experiencing very, very challenging times,” Bolton said.
Every inmate is searched three times when they are booked into the jail. The body scanner and pat down ensure drugs and other contraband don’t make it inside. But only inmates go through that screening process. Employees just walk through a metal detector when entering the jail.
"That’s a lot of people, and were going to have to take a look and see how to approach that but that’s a lot of people on a daily basis to go through in addition to receiving 100 people every day”, Durham said on the idea of searching officers.
Union leaders know the employee screening process is flawed. They claim that’s how nearly 100 needles got into the jail and into an inmate's property last week.
Jail leaders were tight-lipped about how they plan to improve that.
"We’ve got some other initiatives that are going on that we’re really not going to spend too much time talking about right now,” Durham said.
When asked about security camera issues that union leaders said put the lives of inmates and corrections officers in danger, Durham said, "Corrections 101 is not about cameras. Most jails don’t have cameras and don't have a system like we have. What they have is each other."
Director Mark Bolton has gone before the Public Safety Committee twice during the last month to discuss ongoing issues.