OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Oldham County Jailer Mike Simpson is not backing down from his idea of a public sleepover this Friday night inside the new detention center slated to house inmates later this month.
"It never was intended to offend or publicize people who may be incarcerated," he told WHAS11.
A fundraising flier says the county is using the sleepover to help support local charities and train jail staff. Simpson says it's also an opportunity for a more in-depth tour while providing the public an inside look into how their tax dollars are spent.
"The reality is, it is educational," said Simpson.
"I think they should do fundraising in other ways," said Stephen Bartlett.
He's a member of Louisville Showing Up For Racial Justice. He believes the jail is promoting mass incarceration and doesn't find it educational for the public to get a t-shirt and a souvenir mug shot.
"It is making a reality show farce at a very serious institution and a problem in our society which is the need to incarcerate so many of our fellow neighbors and family members," Bartlett said.
As we first reported last week, one resident wrote an open letter to Oldham County leaders saying marketing the experience, "...to youth as a novelty seems dangerous and ill-advised."
We asked Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele last week why he supports the sleepover. "A number of people have asked, 'Hey, can we come in there? I'd like to spend the night in there and see what's that's like,'" Voegele told WHAS11.
Despite some push-back, Simpson says the jail will be open to anyone who wants to spend the night including teens and their parents.
For more information on the sleepover, including a list of participating charities, click here.
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