Jails feeling pinch as budgets take hit from COVID-19

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT
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As states

take a hit from COVID-19, local governments aren't immune eaither.

Governor Beshear asked jails to release inmates who fit strict criteria and were at risk of contracting COVID-19 to prevent a mass spread in jails.

As a result, many local jails have seen their inmate populations and budgets take major hits.

"We've had to look a everything we can look at to make cuts, we're still hanging in. I don't know how long we can last but we're hanging in. I've cut everything I know to cut," said Leslie County Jailer Danny Clark.

Clark has seen his inmate numbers drop by 140 people, amounting to a $140,000 loss in income a month for the jail.

"I now only have four male inmates, and 30 female inmates that are legal, that you can let go out outside the facility without handcuffs and shackles to work," said Clark when discussing how many inmates he has left who can be on work release.

Because of the significant loss in income, Clark has laid off 17 employees. A move he hopes is not permanent.

"Next year I'm hoping maybe by November, December as(sic) once they open the court system up, and people re-offend or whatever, and they come back in we will be okay next year," said Clark.

Until then Clark hopes he doesn't have to make any more cuts and is able to care for the employees he has still on the payroll, a problem he says many jails in Kentucky are dealing with.