The final status of the Clinton County Jail remains fully unresolved, but for now, the facility will remain open after Clinton Fiscal Court again failed to take a vote on whether or not to close the facility.
The issue was tabled once again at its regular meeting last Thursday, June 20 with all members present.
The jail has been a topic of discussion and indecision since earlier this past winter when there was talk about closing the detention center here for economic reasons. However, no official votes have been taken pertaining to the actual closing and/or keeping open the facility, but the issue has been carried over on several occasions.
The court had advertised for bid proposals from area jails for the cost on housing Clinton inmates if the local facility were to be closed.
Several area counties had been invited to submit proposals but only three were opened last Thursday, with two other proposals being turned down on advice of legal counsel because they had been faxed and not delivered sealed as specified in the adverstisement. Those two faxes had come from Wayne and Pulaski counties and were not accepted.
Three area jails did submit written, sealed proposals including Casey County, Russell County and Adair County, with the latter two counties’ jailers being present and submitting brief comments to the court after the bids had been opened and read aloud.
The bid from Casey County was $30 per day per inmate; Russell County, $26.75 and Adair County $27 per day for male inmates and $29 for female inmates. Each proposal also had added stipulations pertaining to transportation costs and other scenarios and it was again noted that Clinton County would be responsible for its inmates’ medical related expenses incurred while housed at another detention center.
Adair County Jailer Rick Wilson and Russell County Jailer Bobby Dunbar were both on hand at the meeting. Wilson said his county put in about $500,000 annually on their jail, which is a regional facility that also houses state inmates, as does the new Russell County Jail.
Following the bid opening, Magistrate Patty Guinn asked, “How can you accept (any) bids if you don’t know what’s going to happen with (our) jail?” This was in reference to the county still not knowing whether or not they were going to vote to close it.
Magistrate Terry Buster said the county needs some comparisons on types of medical costs the county currently pays, among other expenses such as transportation and so forth.
County Attorney Michael Rains also advised the court there should be a motion made as to whether or not the jail should remain open or be closed.
County Judge/Executive Lyle Huff then opened the floor for a motion, and later recommended bringing the issue to some type of conclusion.
Magistrate Mickey Riddle again said he thought the county could save money by closing the facility, and take care of the associated costs dealing with medical, transportation, etc. if everyone worked together to do so. He further added, “There’s got to be a reason for all of these other jails closing.”
Magistrate Buster then moved to table the issue until cost comparisons could be gathered. The motion was seconded by Magistrate Ricky Craig and passed by unanimous vote.
At the end of the jail discussion, a jail employee said the matter had been going on for months and they still didn’t know the status and said the court should either vote to keep it open or shut it down – “just make a decision.”