UPDATE: Section of jail back open after prison riot

By  | 

UPDATE 9/19/17 @ 11:10 a.m.
CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A section of a jail destroyed in a prison riot is back open.

120 inmates are back at The Boyd County Detention Center after repairs were completed last week.

Jailer Joe Burchetts tells WSAZ he hopes to have the remaining inmates back at the jail within the next 30 days.

The facility suffered significant water and fire damage and had to be closed after a riot on Aug. 20.

Inmates were transferred to facilities all across eastern Kentucky. Some were taken at far as the Pike County Detention Center in Pikeville.



UPDATE 8/21/17 @ 6:45 p.m.
CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Everything was business as usual in downtown Catlettsburg on Monday, which was just about 24 hours after law enforcement cleared the scene of a riot at the Boyd County Detention Center.

"It's something that happens, and we have to deal with it," said Boyd County Judge Executive Steve Towler.

Though not directly involved with damage control, Towler did answer questions of how the county is handling what happened, and who will pay for the damages.

"Like most county governments we're covered by insurance," Towler said assuring taxpayers that the repairs won't cost them a dime.

The facility suffered significant water and fire damage and had to be closed. Inmates were transferred to facilities all across eastern Kentucky. Some were taken at far as the Pike County Detention Center in Pikeville.

A factor officials say could have contributed to the hostile environment between inmates is overcrowding at the jail. Towler says the jail has 206 beds but had about 300 inmates when the fire started around 11:30 Saturday night.

"That is a situation that no one likes, but it's not true just in Boyd County," said Towler. "It's true all over the state of Kentucky."

But this wasn't the first situation the jail has had this year. Eight inmates overdosed in April, a deputy jailer was accused of trafficking drugs to inamtes in May, and four inmates escaped from the jail on July 30. One remains on the run.

"There has been more than normal, but a lot of this is coming from our overcrowded situation," said Towler.

Towler adds that the county is not going to let that be an excuse and officials plan on working to put an end to the series of unforunate events.

"W just have to do our very best to make sure this can't happen," said Towler. "Because inmates who don't want to be there, they're not happy campers. So it's something you just have to deal with and be sure you keep things as safe as possible inside the detention center and outside."

Towler says while the jail is offline, any new arrests in Boyd County will be taken to the Greenup County Detention Center.

He estimates the repairs could be finished no later than in a week.

WSAZ has reached out to the detention center and Jailer Joe Burchett, but a jail employee said Burchett was "unavailable" Monday afternoon.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 8/20/17 @ 9:55 p.m.
CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The morning after officials with the Boyd County Detention Center say inmates intentionally set fire during a riot, an inmate recounted the situation to WSAZ just minutes after getting released.

"It was scary," said the former inmate. "It was really scary."

The situation started around 11:30 Saturday night, according to officials.

The jail reports ten maximum security inmates, who have been charged with violent crimes, started fighting with two deputies and then forced them to retreat until backup arrived. During that time, deputies were able to contain the inmates in a secure hallway.

According to a release, while the inmates were in the hallway they stacked blankets, mail and other flammable items against both entry doors and set them on fire.

"We could smell the smoke coming in the cell that we were in in booking and we were panicking," said the inmate. "Are we going to be okay? and the officer said, 'It's going to be okay.' We're crying and we can smell the smoke, so we know it's on fire."

Several other agencies responded to the jail and were able to put the fire out and restrain the inmates, according to the release.

Due to heavy smoke and water damage, the release says 70 inmates were to moved to other facilities. More inmates were moved Sunday to allow crews to assess the damage from the water and fire.

Inmates were taken to several different facilities including jails in Carter and Pike Counties.

Saturday's riot wasn't the first issue the jail has had this year. In April, eight inmates overdosed in the jail, after a woman allegedly smuggled heroin in when she was arrested. In May, a deputy jailer was caught trafficking drugs into the jail to inmates.

Most recently in July, four inmates escaped from the jail after slipping into an unsecured part of the jail that officials called a "design flaw" after renovations in 2006. One of those inmates, Timothy Bates, is still on the run.

At the time of the escape, jailer Joe Burchett told WSAZ part of the problem was the jail was overcrowded and not enough staff.

WSAZ reached out to Burchett for comment, but have not heard back.

WSAZ asked homeowners nearby then if the escape was a concern. Many, including Charles Allen, said no. Allen stood by his response after the riot.

"I was assured by the police as I talked to them after that everything was contained, everything was under control, and there was no threat to the public," said Allen. "Again I think living so close, I feel secure living where we do."

Allen adds that he has full confidence in Burchett and the rest of the Detention Center's staff in keeping the jail secure for inmates and residents in the area, however others were not as confident and said Saturday that they believe something needs to be done, especially after the previous issues in the last few months.

Jail officials say Sunday was spent surveying the damage and reducing the population so repairs could begin. Water damage to facility controls was the jail's main issue.

Minor injuries to some staff and inmates were reported.

Kentucky State Police are investigating the incident.

Names of the inmates who started the riot have not been released, and it is unclear what additional charges they could face.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this developing story.



UPDATE 8/20/17 @ 9:30 a.m.
BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The Boyd County Detention Center is assessing damage to its facility after a small riot broke out late Saturday night, according to a news release.

It happened about 11:30 p.m.

The release reports the riot was contained to one cell block. The jail reports in the release the ten maximum security inmates, who have been charged with violent crimes, started fighting with two deputies and then forced them to retreat until backup arrived. During that time, deputies were able to contain them in a secure hallway.

According to the release, while the inmates were in the hallway they stacked blankets, mail and other flammable items against both entry doors and set them on fire.

Several other agencies responded to the jail and were able to put the fire out and restrain the inmates, according to the release.

Due to heavy smoke and water damage, the release says 70 inmates were to moved to other facilities. More inmates may be moved Sunday to allow crews to assess the damage from the water and fire.

The release says water damage to the facility control systems is the main issue.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/20/17
BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Several law enforcement agencies from all over the region are on scene of a situation at the Boyd County Jail in Catlettsburg.

It happened around 12:30 Sunday morning.

Officials tell WSAZ a fire was intentionally set by inmates.

There is significant damage to the building according to officials.

A jail employee says no inmates are hurt and all are accounted for.

Inmates have been taken to the old courthouse building according to officials.

We're told inmates are being taken to the Elliott County Jail.

There is no word if any employees or first responders were injured.

No other information is available this time. We have a crew at the scene.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



 
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus