The McCreary County Jail will soon be empty, as the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) is forcing the facility to close.
According to McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens, the 50-bed jail in Whitley City will close Friday afternoon at 4:30, moving the 32 current inmates to other nearby facilities.
"We have to develop a transportation plan because we're now having to house our inmates nearby, primarily Whitley County and Laurel County," said Judge Stephens.
A total of 15 part-time and full-time positions will be terminated as a result of the closure.
In December, Judge Stephens received a letter from the KDOC, after recent investigations revealed concerns with the jail. The study included four incidents in 2012 where a total of six inmates escaped the facility.
The letter stated, "Investigations by both departments (KDOC and the Kentucky Jailer's Association) revealed concerns about general security operations of the facility to include inadequate documentation of inmate counts, failure to inventory/control razors, linens and other property issued to inmates, exposed wires, uncovered light fixtures, failure to provide security to prevent the holes int he masonry, graffiti on the walls, etc."
Both the KDOC and Judge Stephens said improvements have been made since the escapes. However, the letter stated the county jailer did not submit a "corrective action plan" for further improvements.
"The Department of Corrections has assured me that once we go through this process and we develop this plan that they would quote 'hold our hands' to develop a plan for the future," Judge Stephens added.
Stephens said other counties in the commonwealth have implemented similar transportation plans for their closed jails, and said they were successful.
However, a concern he has is over the excess time it will take to move the inmates to other facilities.
"(Deputies) may get another call, and for the safety of the other folks in the community, they need to respond to another call that would come in," he said.
He said at this time, there are no plans to reopen the detention center.
10News tried contacting Tony Ball, the McCreary County jailer who oversees the facility. He did not return our calls by airtime.