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Jail lays off 14 full-time deputies as revenue falls

One-third of the deputy jailers at the Clark County Detention Center were laid off a week ago, as the facility has lost revenue from out-of-county and state prisoners.

Jailer Frank Doyle said the layoffs took effect May 26, which leaves the facility with 24 full-time and four part-time deputy jailers. The facility has also changed to 12-hour shifts for the deputies still working.

“As the numbers went down, we wouldn’t have the money to cover the payroll,” Doyle said.

A number of factors played into the decision, he said. Bath County had contracted with Clark County to house its prisoners, but that agreement recently ended.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, officers and sheriff’s deputies have been directed to make fewer arrests. Both state and federal officials have released a number of people as well, Doyle said.

Losing the Bath County contract alone means between $300,000 and $400,000 in lost revenue, Doyle said. Before the state implemented COVID-19 guidelines in March, Doyle said, the jail housed nearly 300 state and local prisoners daily. On Monday, there were around 145 in the jail, he said, including about 89 state inmates.

With approximately half the prisoner population, Doyle said, the revenue isn’t there to continue operating as before.

“We’re pretty bare,” he said. “We have enough.”

Doyle said he is waiting for the official word from state corrections officials on how many deputy jailers are needed, based on the population.

Making the decision, though, was brutal, he said.

“I know it’s business, but it’s one of the toughest financial decisions we had to make,” Doyle said. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.”

Doyle said he hopes to recall his deputies as the situation improves, but there is no timetable. For the time being, the jail is functioning with the available staff.

“I’ll have to have that discussion with the Department of Corrections” about whether the current situation is sustainable, Doyle said. “I know we’re not the only one. It’s affected every jail in the state.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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