Jailers and the jail
By PJ Martin
In the continuing series, we will discuss what a Jailer and his/her deputies are required to do per the Kentucky Revised Statutes.
Section 99 of the Kentucky Constitution provides for the election of a jailer in each county and Kentucky’s Constitution is unique in that fact.
Each fiscal court must provide for the incarceration of prisoners arrested within their county, those sentenced, or held by court order for their county. If the fiscal court contracts with another county for the incarceration and care of prisoners, it is responsible for providing transportation for those prisoners, including a vehicle, a driver, and guards per KRS 441.
In a county without a jail, the judge/executive and the fiscal court can hire one or more deputy transportation officers to assist the jailer. These deputies are under the supervision of the jailer, and the jailer can be held liable on his or her official bond for the conduct of these officers. Deputy transportation officers have the same powers and are subject to the same penalties as the jailer per KRS 71.
The Department of Corrections has a training program for jailers and the newly elected jailer must complete a basic training course within one year of taking office, plus annual training per KRS 441.115.
The jailer and his/her deputy are in charge of transferring prisoners after arrest to Barren County Corrections or other county jail facilities in the area. If the arrested person(s) are in need of medical care the jailer or deputy must transport them to a hospital or medical facility and guard that person until they are able to be transported to the jail facility.
In some cases, the jailer or deputy must transport the person(s) under arrest to various rehabilitation facilities such as Rivendell or Western State Hospital.
When prisoners at the jail facility are due in court the jailer or deputy must transport that prisoner(s) to the court facility in whichever county is necessary and then transport the prisoner(s) back to the jail facility after court.
The jailer or deputy may be ordered by a circuit judge or district judge to transport prisoner(s) from one jail facility to another or the penitentiary per KRS 441.520 and 441.540.
According to 2019 statistics from the National Institute of Corrections out of the 120 counties in Kentucky, only 84 have jails.