Bill Hensley

New Boyd County Jailer William Hensley has implemented numerous reforms at the detention center since taking office in late 2018. Kevin Goldy | The Daily Independent.

CATLETTSBURG The Boyd County Detention Center inmate work program is set to begin today.

Lt. Ryan Mitchell said at the Boyd County Fiscal Court meeting on Tuesday that the jail should have its first inmate sentenced to the program, citing the Boyd Commonwealth's Attorney's office. Mitchell has been designated to oversee the program.

The program is designed to allow those in Boyd County with low level offenses to complete community service in place of serving time at the detention center. Boyd County Jailer Bill Hensley previously told The Daily Independent that the intent is to reduce the jail's inmate population while also giving individuals the opportunity to form a solid worth ethic and the chance to give back to their community.

Hensley said county judges and attorneys will be working hand-in-hand on the program, noting it is up to the judges to decide if an individual is eligible for the program and to ensure they are being correctly punished for their violations. He pointed out many of these violations will be misdemeanor charges.

Once a judge has decided on a sentence Hensley said it is up to the jail to monitor the judge's wishes. On Tuesday Hensley said the general rule of thumb behind the sentencing is that an individual's serving time will be doubled when they enter the work program, noting it is still ultimately up to the judge.

Hensley said the program will also save the jail money on housing inmates.

“Hopefully it will reduce the cost of the jail between $300,000 to $600,000 a year with just that program,” he said, pointing out this is just a projection.

Once the program begins he said Mitchell will provide a monthly report of savings.

Several county and non-profit properties will benefit from the program. Mitchell said the county parks and recreation department will be the first focus.

“We're really excited. There's a lot of places that are anxious to get this program started because they need some help,” he said.

The fiscal court also spoke of their support for the program during the meeting. Boyd County Judge Executive Eric Chaney said he is looking forward to the opportunities it creates.

“It will be a great benefit to our community,” said County Commissioner Larry Brown.

Hensley said those in the program will be closely monitored and will be placed into detention if they do not follow the orders set by the judge.

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