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Female Otter Creek inmates moved

FREDONIA — The transitioning of the first female prisoners to a state prison in Western Kentucky has gone smoothly, a deputy warden said.

The Western Kentucky Correctional Complex took in 50 inmates from the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women near Louisville on April 5.

Deputy Warden Steve Woodward said 65 prisoners from the Otter Creek Correctional Center came Tuesday and about 100 more medium- and minimum-security female inmates also arrived last week.

Woodward said one female inmate arrived in a wheelchair, but she had to be sent back because the complex is not handicap-accessible yet.

The prison in Fredonia housed men for 32 years.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced the change in January because of allegations of sexual misconduct at the privately owned, corporate-run Otter Creek prison. The state is closing the Otter Creek facility after reviewing 18 sexual misconduct allegations against male prison guards.

Ninety-five minimum-security male inmates remain at the prison farm. They are finishing some spring chores and will move out by July, said Todd Henson, public information officer for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

The men live in buildings outside the fence, the female prisoners stay inside it.

The Western Kentucky Correctional Complex has undergone about $240,000 in renovations needed to make the changeover, with work continuing in some areas through the summer, Woodward said. The total project is budgeted to cost $590,000.

The prison expects to hold its capacity of 675 female prisoners by fall, Woodward said. Staff members will teach them to operate farm equipment to harvest the corn and soybeans on the 2,000-acre farm.