Letters to the Editor

Kentucky jailers victims of flawed system

Proposed legislation to require jailers without jails to have reporting requirements and cursory regulations is like putting a band-aid on a decapitation.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting did a masterful job framing jail problems, but not solutions.

The transport jailers cost the commonwealth about $2 million a year. To upgrade staffing, training and safe transport would cost fiscal courts over $5 million per year. Some jailers work double shifts and hire minimum-wage staff. They are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the flawed system.

They transport in vehicles that would be considered inadequate for animals. The current practices expose the community, the arrested and jailers to danger.

Giving fiscal courts the responsibility to fix and fund these deficiencies is unreasonable. Small counties don't have jails because they don't need jails.

Our system is structured to profit from incarceration. The state prostitutes the counties into overcrowding and under-resourcing jails as an alternative to prison expansion. Fiscal courts must recognize this charade.

Jails need to be consolidated into a unified system, paid for proportionately by the legislature, Administrative Office of the Courts, fiscal courts and arresting jurisdictions. Then there would be negative incentives to enacting frivolous laws and arresting nonviolent offenders.

Raymond Sabbatine

former Fayette County jailer