Leitchfield and Grayson County Officials took a guided tour of the Grayson County Detention Center on Friday, March 14.
Prior to the tour, GCDC Chief Deputy Jailer Jason Woosley addressed the officials in attendance and said detention center representatives had invited City and County Officials to the facility to show how it is run, as well as previous and upcoming upgrades.
Woosley said the GCDC will soon upgrade its video recording system to digital, which will allow the facility to record up to seven years of video.
On its current system, the GCDC can record only 30 days worth of video, Woosley said.
A number of other upgrades have already been made to the detention center, including the installation of an updated, touch-screen control panel, which controls every door and security camera in the facility, Woosley said.
According to GCDC Deputy Bo Thorpe, the new control panel initially cost $100,000 to purchase and install; however, because replacing the control panel would be as simple replacing a television screen, it will ultimately be more cost-efficient.
Woosley said the new control panel is part of the GCDC’s effort to reduce expenditures, in part, by becoming more energy efficient.
Within the last six months, the GCDC has installed a new, energy-efficient clothes washing system, started replacing lights with LED, energy-efficient bulbs, and begun the transition to a paperless system, Woosley said.
The GCDC, which houses about 550 inmates across three facilities, has also concentrated on providing the best services possible to inmates, including medical care and food.
“When we came out here, we were a mom and pop [facility],” Thorpe said. “We’ve tried to keep that feel.”
Woosley said the healthier and more content the inmates are, the better behaved they will be, and, subsequently, the job of detention center employees will be easier.
“Our motto is, ‘We give respect and expect it in return,’” Thorpe said. “…The way we do it here is an ideal model.”
The GCDC has also taken strides to educate its inmates for life outside prison walls.
Thorpe said the facility offers a number of classes including GED classes and English as a Second Language, the latter of which is especially important because 15% of the GCDC’s inmate population is Hispanic.
The GCDC has also become the first jail in the United States to offer video conferencing for its inmates to meet and talk with their attorneys, even if the attorney is located out of state.
Woosley said this service is useful because it keeps deputy jailers in the detention center, which, in turn, improves security in the facility.