The effects of drug addiction and criminal activity can be taxing on families, especially children in the Bluegrass. The Boyle County Jail has seen those effects first hand, and now hopes to lessen that emotional load.
Staffers are creating a new space for kids who visit their incarcerated loved ones."The church is going to come in, starting from this same area, and mural floor to ceiling. All the way down each of these three walls, including the doors," said Chaplain Tom Grugel.
That's not all. The transformation of the lobby hallway starts Monday, and once finished will include a TV, children's furniture, crayons, teddy bears, and toys that kids can take home with them.
"It's our hope that this will just be one magnificent playroom," said Grugel.
Chaplain Grugel says about 400 inmates are currently housed at the jail, and he guesses around 80 percent of them have children.
"I saw six of seven children just sitting in them chairs, staring at the restroom doors, and frankly it broke my heart," said Grugel.
The troubling sight prompted the idea to create a special place for those young visitors. It's project that hits home for the Chaplain who once served time in prison himself.
"At that time, if you'd have asked me, I would have done anything including adding a few years to my sentence, if I could possibly extend some love or joy to my children while I was in prison," said Grugel.
Jail employees have set up donation sites across Boyle County for those in the community who can help bring the project to life.
"It's going to be a big impact. A happier environment than it has been," said Deputy Jailer Renita Gray.
WKYT caught up with one inmate who agrees, saying she thinks it will make visitation easier on her young grandchildren.
"Oh it's going to be great! They're going to be so over-joyed, and excited, and it won't be such a dreary experience," said the Boyle County inmate.
Staffers are looking to add more donation sites across the Bluegrass. You can currently drop off toys, coloring books, crayons, and stuffed animals at the Calvary Baptist Church in Danville, the South District Baptist Association Office in Danville, the Junction City Food Pantry, or the Community Friends Outreach Food Bank.