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Committee hears options for future of Fayette County Detention Center

There are two main options being considered by the Urban County Council: keeping the jail under control of the Urban County Government or handing operations over to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office. Both options raised a lot of questions today.

Corrections officers, sheriff's deputies and council members all listened as a research analyst discussed the pros and cons of each option.

The problems at the Fayette County Detention Center are well documented including a high turnover rate, lawsuits from inmates and corrections officers and a report from the sheriff's office saying the jail had a perceived lack of leadership.

Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt spoke to the council, saying giving her department control of jail operations could save the city money by sharing resources.

Council members say the solution to the jail's problems could be more complex than one idea or the other. The man currently in charge of the jail says appointing the sheriff's department to run the jail could present it's own issues.

"Kentucky separated the enforcement and corrections because it's difficult to be and enforcer and a helper." said Interim Jail Director Ray Sabbatine. Sabbatine was appointed last year to help turn around the troubled facility.

A third, less popular option was discussed, creating the position of jailer as an elected position. One council member went as far as putting up a motion to table that idea for good but that was put on hold until the council could get more information.

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