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'How many more people have to die before something is done?' | Advocates call for change at LMDC

The ACLU of Kentucky and community leaders called for changes at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections after three people died at the facility.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The ACLU of Kentucky and community partners gathered Monday morning calling for action to be taken at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC) after three people died at the facility in one week.

"The deaths of the people are on Mayor Fischer's hands," said Carla Wallace, co-founder of Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice and one of the speakers at Monday's conference.

According to a press release from the ACLU of Kentucky, 15 people overdosed while at LMDC in September 2021, prompting the organization to call on Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Council to take action.

"Leadership refused, and more people have died," the release said.

RELATED: Louisville woman 'embarrassed' after incident at Metro Corrections, files lawsuit against officers

Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, two women and a man incarcerated at LMDC died while under the facility's care. At least one of the deaths has been ruled a suicide.

When previously asked about staffing issues at the correctional facility, the mayor said issues were happening "regardless of the staffing level." Those who work with LMDC said the lack of staffing and proper training is only part of the issue.

FOP President Daniel Johnson said there are other helpful solutions that are not being utilized. Johnson talked about the GED program, which helps inmates complete their education, and bringing in church leaders to help turn offenders away from a life of crime.

He said these additional programs are vital in helping with training and dealing with the situations they are seeing now.

"How many more people have to die before something is done substantially to get us back on the right track," he asked.

The ACLU plans to send a letter demanding both the Jefferson County Attorney's Office and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office stop requesting bench warrants with cash bonds for anything that does not threaten community safety to decrease the number of inmates lodged at LMDC.

"The broken cash bail system and the failed war on drugs are fueling deadly overcrowding, endangering both incarcerated people and corrections employees," the ACLU said in a statement.

The letter will also ask for LMDC to have access to services supporting those with substance disorders.

Former Kentucky State Representative Charles Booker, who is currently running for US Senate, issued a statement Monday calling on Mayor Fischer and other city leaders to investigate the recent deaths at LMDC.

"Kentuckians deserve better. I call on our local leaders to act," Booker said in a tweet. You can read the full letter here.

WHAS11 reached out to Metro Corrections for a statement and has not heard back.

Contact reporter Gabrielle Harmon at gharmon@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@_GabbyHarmonTV) and Facebook.

   

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