WKYT Investigates: Drugs in jail, Fayette jailer says they'll always be there

Published: Jun. 16, 2016 at 5:48 PM EDT
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We were invited by Fayette County Detention Center Director Scott Colvin to watch as Lexington Police use their drug dog to search for drugs inside the 20 unit, half a million square foot jail. "Keep your eyes open. You don't move for people. Other people will move out of your way," he briefed his troop of corrections officers and metro police. "They'll hardly know that we're there until the dog is there." The drug dog hopped out of a Lexington police cruiser parked in the belly of the detention center.

"It's the world we will in now," Colvin told WKYT's Miranda Combs. On any given day, Fayette County could be housing up to 1300 inmates. Colvin said one of the biggest problems they face is one that will never go away. "You're booking the smartest animal on the planet. And you're booking them at the rate of 20 or 25,000 a year. It's a cycle that never ends," he explained. Colvin believes Fayette County is the only jail he knows of that brings in metro police and their drug dog to hunt for drugs. "People who want things will find ways to get things, especially drug addicts."

Our cameras followed the team for one unit check. The dog alerted them to a table, but nothing was found. The police officer with the dog explained that drug dogs alert to the presence of drug odor, and not the drug itself. They do this search about once a month.

South of Lexington, in Somerset, the Pulaski County jailer is also working to rid his jail of drugs. Jailer David Moss said they've come a long way in the past year. "It was blatant. It was a lot of drugs. It was everywhere," he recalled. "They'd stick it under chairs, leave it in the bathroom, bump into someone and pass it off to them, whatever they could do, so we stopped that."

They also started a class called Moral Reconation Therapy run by Councelor Christy Fox. "I feel like this is such a key moment for all of these individuals. We really have an opportunity to get through to them now while they are thinking clearly," Fox said.

The jail funds the program itself, because the small groups that sit in on the class represent most of the inmates. "Most people in here are addicts and this class helps us to recover instead of just locking us away. It actually does something to help," said Inmate Amy Frasure. They learn coping skills and how to use their time wisely, by dissecting their day. "We really help each other here. We're all that we have. We have to sit with each other 24 hours a day so this is a way to get to know each other and get to help each other," she said.

Both Pulaski and Fayette are doing their best to suppress the drug problem, but both agree it will never completely be gone. "It will always be there. Contraband in county jails cannot be eradicated. It can be suppressed and this is where our efforts should be focused but it cannot be eliminated," Colvin said.