Increased "jail drops" prompt change from Floyd County jail staff

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Jail officials in Floyd County have taken an extra step to stop "jail drops" at the detention center.

A "jail drop" happens when someone on the outside leaves some type of drug somewhere on detention center property or where inmates may be.

The problem began around 10 years ago when the opioid epidemic hit Eastern Kentucky.

"Probably our number one issue here is people trying to get drugs into the jail," said Jailer Stuart Holbert. "90 percent of the inmates that I currently have are in here on drug-related charges in some form or fashion."

However, the drug problem does not end when the cell doors close.

"I think I have over 200 accounts now of felony charges of contraband in the five years that I've been here," recalled Holbert.

More than 160 inmates live in the Floyd County Detention Center. The maximum capacity for the jail is 108.

"Trying to drill holes in the walls is probably our number one concern right now," said the Jailer.

Officials hoped to patch this problem - literally. They are using large plates of metal to cover the sides of the jail.

"I mean, they're very creative. I believe they could all be engineers when they got out if they wanted," said Sheriff John Hunt.

While they hope this tactic will slow down these drops, Sheriff Hunt said it is hard to get ahead of the problem.

"Well, that's the old saying, an inmate has got nothing but time," Hunt pointed out. "So obviously they spend all that time trying to come up with ways on how to get somebody to bring them pills or meth or suboxone on the inside."

When inmates get creative, Sheriff Hunt and his team work harder.

The jailer also hired one employee to screen calls.

Often inmates will offer money to someone willing to make a "jail drop".

"The numbers that we are getting on the phone calls, they are actually paying these people $200, $250, $300 to come and actually do the drop," explained Holbert. "So I guess my point to the public is, is that $200 or $250 worth coming in and doing a year in jail for? Because you're going to get caught."

Officials explained inmates will use a piece of metal and file it down to create a chisel to scratch into the wall. On the outside, many will use power tools to get the job done.

"You know, they would just run up to the jail with a big commercial drill or whatever and actually drill holes into the wall. It takes less than 30 or 45 seconds," Holbert pointed out.

In the past, inmates were caught using straws, paper, or strings to indicate to someone on the outside where to leave the drugs.

Now the question remains, is it worth the risk?

"You will be caught. It's a matter of time," said Holbert.

Sheriff Hunt said if you are caught making a drop at the detention center, you may receive up to five years in jail. "It is a felony," he noted.

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