WKYT Investigates: Who's housed at Blackburn?

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Attempted murder. Burglary and robbery with deadly weapons. Are the men facing those charges the ones you think should be housed in a minimum security prison? They are in Lexington. Blackburn Correctional Complex is home to more than 90 of them facing those exact charges.

In a WKYT investigation, Kristen Kennedy tracks the current inmate population at a prison with no gates, no fences, and limited security.

Blackburn Correctional Complex is just north of Lexington, surrounded by homes and highways. It has no fences or barbed wire. Even guards outdoors are few and far between.

"You won't see somebody during the daytime hours right now monitoring every inmate walking back and forth because it's a minimum custody facility," explains Warden Steven Haney.

Blackburn is a facility where inmates with less than four years left on their sentence stay. Some of the men are behind bars for first degree burglary and robbery, even murder - criminal attempt.

"What you're talking about there is what are classified under Kentucky law as violent crime," notes Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson, "I've never understood why they call Blackburn minimum security."

Larson has feared for years Blackburn's letting in prisoners too dangerous to keep.

"They're throwing the safety and security of the citizens that live around there under the bus. At no time do they seem to be concerned about the crime victims."

"They're going to be going to the street within 48 months anyway," says Haney, "there could be somebody that's had a murder charge and again over the years during his sentence he's done the things and met the requirements that gets him eligible to be here. There's no class A felonies, no sex offenses, capital murder, those kinds of things you would never have here."

Haney says they follow nationally-accepted guidelines, and no one gets in the minimum security prison without being approved through a classification system.

"We consider their previous incarceration, their current incarceration, violence, their disappearing history, their age, there's a number of factors that we use when we score those inmates," describes Haney.

The prison gives the more than 500 current inmates responsibility under small amounts of supervision. Every inmate at Blackburn has less than four years left to serve on his sentence.

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