Kentucky plans to open Floyd County prison to ease overcrowding in jails

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky plans to reopen and operate a privately-owned prison to shift inmates from overcrowded county jails.

The facility is in Floyd County in Eastern Kentucky.

Beshear said Thursday that the state will lease the facility from Tennessee-based CoreCivic but will operate it as a state prison housing male inmates.

The 656-bed facility will be called Southeast State Correctional Complex. Officials said it last held inmates in 2012.

“The 656-bed prison is located in Wheelwright, and its opening will reduce the number of state inmates in county jails,” said Gov. Beshear. “The state commits to safely and effectively running this state prison, while being able to bring new job opportunities to Floyd County and its surrounding counties.”

Beshear says its opening will reduce the number of state inmates held in county jails.

Overcrowding at some county jails has created potentially dangerous conditions.

“The Cabinet along with the Department of Corrections’ commitment to hold offenders to the highest standards of personal accountability and responsibility will remain unchanged as we open and operate this facility in Floyd County,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble. “Proactive measures taken at the other state prisons to aid in the fight against the novel coronavirus will be enforced at this prison beginning day one. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond with necessary action in order to protect correctional officers, staff and individuals placed in our custody.”

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