Grayson County Detention Center Deputy Bo Thorpe addressed the Grayson County Fiscal Court about some significant changes that the jail needs to make in order to stay in compliance with a federally-mandated program called PREA.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act, which came about in 2003, has been updated by the Obama administration, Thorpe explained, and meeting the new standards is going to be “a massive endeavor.”
While GCDC is already doing a number of the required procedures, Thorpe said “over the next few months we’re going to have massive changes.”
He explained that the local Comonwealth Attorney’s office along with the Sheriff’s Office are already lending a hand in the process that will reach beyond employees of the jail itself. County Attorney Clay Ratley also made a point to offer his assistance, saying, “I’ll definitely throw my weight in, too.”
Unfortunately, Thorpe said, not all of the services needed to be in compliance are currently available in Grayson County. For example, sexual assault counseling must be provided and the services of a sexual assault investigative nurse will be needed. The nearest access to these would be in Elizabethtown.
Thorpe said GCDC is “dealing with the hospital, dealing with Communicare” and also with Elizabethtown service providers to work out this dilemma.
“We have to be creative,” he said, “we have to reach out.”
While GCDC employees will undoubtedly need to undergo a great deal of training, Thorpe said he does not believe the changes will result in new hires at the center.
While the new regulations come with a compliance deadline in 2015, Thorpe said that GCDC Jailer Darwin Dennison is tasking his team with being in compliance with the new regulations by August of this year.
Thorpe said that this stricter goal is largely due to the high volume of federal prisoners being held here.
Each prison is slated to be audited for compliance once every three years, and should they fail to comply, would lose all of their federal inmates. Such a loss could wreak havoc on the jail’s budget.
“We’re going to reach compliance,” Thorpe said after explaining the possible repercussions, “I don’t want to scare anybody.”
In other Fiscal Court news, Caneyville area resident John Likens approached the court with a request for either funds or suggestions for how to accomplish the clean-up of Caney Creek.
He has been working toward this goal for a year and a half, and said, “It’s time somebody’s giving a little money so we can get this done.”
Likens has gotten signatures from property owners around the creek, and has drummed up support for the project, including trips to Frankfort to rally the issue.
He said that the creek needs to be cleared out to reduce flooding as well as to prevent health hazards.
He said that the current Caneyville ballpark, which is notoriously known for it’s flooding, is frequently underwater while the creek bed just a few miles downstream from the area remains well below the banks. This, he said, is due to the high volume of “logs, refrigerators, tires and rocks” in the creek bed.
Judge Executive Gary Logsdon said, “We’re searching everywhere. We can try to find a nickel to help out.”
Logsdon went on to agree, “like [Likens] said, it’s time that everybody does a little bit.”
Magistrate Depresto Geary said he’d like to “commend John” for putting “a lot of hard work into this.”
Other items from the March 15 Fiscal Court meeting:
- A vote passed to take bids for a high-quality pot-hole machine, which Judge Executive Gary Logsdon explained should do a better and longer-lasting job at repairing pot-holes.
Logsdon said such a machine would cost somewhere in the area of $70,000.
“They’re not cheap,” he said, “but it works.”
He also noted that road issues are the most common complaints of county citizens, and that this piece of equipment should help to keep roadways in better shape.
- The group voted to allocate a recent $10,714.28 grant toward the purchase of a new ambulance.
- Bids were opened for repairs to the Pine Knob bridge. Two bids were received.
E & H Bridge quoted an amount of $24,174.51 for a steel bridge deck and guardrails delivered to the site. The pieces would have to be installed by county road crews.
Do-All Construction quoted an amount of $21,472 for concrete upgrades to the bridge.
Upon the recommendation of Magistrate Depresto Geary, who said, “Most people in my area brought a concern to me that they’d rather have concrete,” the court voted to accept the less expensive concrete bid from Do All Construction.
The group will apply for state funding for the project.
- The soil conservation budget, which came in at $1,500 greater than last year’s budget, was approved.
- The group voted to apply for emergency funding for the repair of the Ivan Cane Road bridge, which Logsdon said is in “bad shape.”