The Harlan Fiscal Court approved a plan that may result in new jobs at the Harlan County Detention Center.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley advised the magistrates about a program offered by the state which utilizes state inmates as a workforce.
Mosley said he and Harlan County Jailer B.J. Burkhart met with representatives from the state concerning the program.
“You all are familiar with the inmate work program that exists in the county,” Mosley said. “This particular project will allow B.J. to create a couple of additional positions that will be paid for by the state.”
Mosley explained the salaries for the new positions will be covered by state funding.
“This will give us two additional crews out there,” Mosley said. “They will be doing more state work…The two crews will be assigned to the state highway garage at Dayhoit…They will be doing various tasks all over Harlan County.”
Mosley said the state has allocated funds to pay for two additional employees.
“They will be our employees,” Mosley said. “They will reimburse us on a monthly basis. They also will cover the inmate’s meal during the time they are working. So, it’s a real win-win for us and them.”
Burkhart told the magistrates he was in favor of the program.
“Each (state) van will have four or five inmates,” Burkhart said. “I think it will be a good idea.”
Burkhart said the state had contacted him about the program.
“The only concern I’ve got is what happens if our inmate population falls?” Magistrate David Kennedy said.
Mosley stated only class D inmates are eligible for the work program.
Burkhart said at the current time the jail houses approximately 180 class D inmates, with approximately 55 to 60 involved in the work program.
Mosley pointed out there are approximately 130 more inmates who qualify for the work program and could be utilized. According to Burkhart, the jail currently houses 280 inmates.
Kennedy added a few years ago the inmate population dropped significantly.
Burkhart said he didn’t see a drop in inmate population in the near future.
“If you have a day that you can’t send them inmates, then we don’t bill them for that day,” Mosley explained. “We would log that on a daily basis. The treasurer’s office would take care of the billing the state for that. So there may be days that we don’t have the population to be able to send them, then we just wouldn’t bill the state.”
After some further discussion, the court passed a motion authorizing the county to enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth Transportation Cabinet to utilize Class D state inmates for a workforce program to be established in Harlan County.
The motion passed with no opposition.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde