Duties of Elected Jailer

Duties of Elected Jailer

Duties of Elected Jailer

Chapter 8

Jailer

Background

The Kentucky Constitutions of 1792 and 1799 did not refer to the office of jailer. Article VI, Section 1 of the 1850 version required each county to elect a jailer, and two provisions of the present Constitution refer specifically to the office. Section 99 provides for the election of a jailer in each county. Section 105 permits the legislature to consolidate the offices of sheriff and jailer in any county, provided the office of sheriff is retained and the jailer’s duties are assumed by the sheriff. This provision results from a compromise between two factions of the 1890 Constitutional Convention: one wanting to abolish the office of jailer and the other urging retention of the offices of sheriff and jailer (Commonwealth. Convention).

The Kentucky constitutional provisions relating to the office of jailer are unique. No other state constitution refers to jailers (Legislative). In most states, the sheriff or a sheriff’s deputy would perform the duties of jailer (Wager).

Qualifications

A jailer’s qualifications are prescribed by constitutional provision. The jailer must give bond as required by law, be at least 24 years of age, and have two years’ residence in the state and a year in the county of candidacy (secs. 100 and 103). Before assuming office, a jailer must take the oath prescribed by Section 228 of the Constitution and execute bond before the judge/executive. Sureties for this bond are approved by the fiscal court for a minimum of $10,000, and the bond must be filed in the county clerk’s office.

No coroner, sheriff, sheriff’s deputy, county judge/executive, Circuit judge, county or circuit clerk, or attorney may be a surety for the bond (KRS 71.010).

Vacancy

A vacancy in the office of jailer is filled by appointment by the county judge/executive or by the mayor in a consolidated local government. The length of appointment is governed by Section 152 of the Kentucky Constitution and by KRS 63.220.

County Jail System

Each fiscal court is required to provide for the incarceration of prisoners arrested in the county or sentenced or held by order of the courts in the county. This responsibility may be met in several ways. The fiscal court may provide and maintain a jail or contract with another county or city for the incarceration and care of its prisoners. If the fiscal court contracts with another county or city, it must provide for the transportation of prisoners, including vehicles, drivers, and guards. A county may provide facilities for holding prisoners for limited periods of time and contract with another county or city for longer periods of incarceration. A county may also enter into an interlocal agreement, pursuant to KRS 65.210 to 65.300, to provide or use jail facilities (KRS 441.025). A county has the flexibility to maintain its own jail, to contract with another county or city for the use of its facilities, or to participate in a regional jail system if such a system is established.

Counties must provide for the incarceration of prisoners. As county jails are to operate them may increase. Under KRS 441.206, money appropriated for county jails is required at least to equal those for fiscal year 1983-84 or, in the case of certain counties, the amount that should have been paid in 1983-84. Any additional amounts must be allocated on the basis of the following formula:

a) 60 percent based on the 1983-84 funding each county received or should have received;

b) 10 percent based on each county’s ranking of median household income in inverse order, using the 1980 federal census; and

c) 30 percent “based on the proportion of each county’s age at risk population (ages 18-34) to the state total,” using the 1980 federal census. No county may receive less than $24,000 from the State Treasury for the care and maintenance of prisoners charged with or convicted of violations of state law (KRS 441.206). The state will also provide training for jailers and their deputies through the Department of Corrections; a jailer’s expense allowance of $300 a month helps defray the cost of participation in the training program (KRS 441.115).

The county may receive revenue from the federal government, cities, or other counties for holding prisoners for those units of government (KRS 441.025 and 441.035).

In addition, if a Class D felon is sentenced to an indeterminate term of five years or less, he or she may serve that term in a county jail. Counties that choose not to house Class D felons will be granted a waiver by the commissioner of the Department of Corrections (KRS 532.100). Counties that house Class D felons will receive a per diem amount determined according to KRS 431.215.

A county may require county jail prisoners to reimburse the county for expenses incurred. This includes a $50 per diem for room and board (KRS 441.265). Prisoners in work release status may be charged up to 25 percent of gross daily wages, a minimum of $12 and a maximum of $40 per day, for the costs of their imprisonment (KRS 439.179). The money must be paid to the jailer (KRS 534.045).

Medical Expenses

KRS 441.045 sets out the applicable law on health care in county jails. The county is required to pay for the cost of providing necessary medical, dental, and psychological care for indigent prisoners from the county jail budget. The cost of providing necessary medical, dental, or psychological care for prisoners held as part of a contractual agreement with another county or a city is paid as provided by that contract. If the cost of care for a prisoner exceeds $2,000, as calculated by using the maximum allowable costs to similar persons or facilities for the same or similar services under the Kentucky medical assistance program, the state must reimburse the county for that portion of the costs that exceeds $2,000. The state reimbursement is subject to the following terms and conditions:

• The care is necessary, meaning it is nonelective and cannot be delayed until after confinement without jeopardizing the life or health of the prisoner. The attending physician must certify that the care is necessary;

• The prisoner is indigent or uninsured; and

• State reimbursement to the county for care provided by health care providers cannot exceed the maximum payments allowed for these services under the Kentucky Medicaid program, except as otherwise provided by law.

Jail Standards and Inspections

The Department of Corrections established minimum standards for jails of counties that elect to house state prisoners. These standards include provisions for health and safety conditions; fire safety; jail operations; recordkeeping and administration; curriculum of basic and continuing annual training for jailers and jail personnel; custody, care, and treatment of prisoners; medical care and jail equipment; and renovation and construction. The Department of Corrections provides technical assistance to local governments to help them comply with the standards (KRS 441.055). The department must also adopt the standards of the Jail Standards Commission and promulgate regulations for those counties that elect not to hold state prisoners. However, these standards must be limited to health and life safety conditions. The county governing body must “prescribe rules for the government, security, safety, and cleanliness of county jails and the comfort and treatment of prisoners” if the rules are consistent with state laws (KRS 441.045).

The Department of Corrections must employ jail inspectors to inspect each jail at least twice a year. The jailer must allow the department inspectors access to the jail or any part of the jail at any reasonable time, as well as access to all books, records, and data pertaining to the jail that the department deems necessary to fulfill its jail regulation responsibilities (KRS 441.064). The department must submit an annual report of its inspections to the jailer and the fiscal court. The county judge/executive may also inspect the jail at any reasonable time (KRS 441.045).

If the Department of Corrections finds violations of state law pertaining to jailshousing state prisoners, the commissioner or a designee must order that the violations be corrected. The commissioner may order that a jail or a part of a jail be closed, that the jail not house certain types of prisoners, that a county contract with another county for the incarceration of prisoners, or that the jail cease housing state prisoners (KRS 441.075). A report of violations of the health and life safety regulations in any jail by the department to the commissioner will result in an order for immediate correction. The commissioner may order the jail closed until the violations are corrected.

Training for Jailers and Jail Personnel

The Department of Corrections conducts a jail staff training program to instruct personnel in implementing state jail standards. Jailers must serve with professionals in jail administration on a curriculum advisory committee to advise the department on training needs. The state will provide each jailer with a $300 monthly expense allowance to help pay for the cost of training the jailer. To qualify for this allowance, the jailer must complete a basic training course within one year of taking office and must complete annual continuing training (KRS 441.115). However, in order to receive the expense allowance during their first year in office, jailers who have been elected to the office for the first time must successfully complete the basic jailer training program before taking office. Time extensions are permitted for illness (KRS 441.115).

In 2002, KRS 64.5275 was amended to allow jailers who operate life safety jails, who transport prisoners, and who act as court bailiffs to be eligible to participate in the training and training incentive benefits available to jailers operating full-service jails.

Powers and Duties

Keeping the Jail

Each county jailer has “custody, rule and charge of the county jail” and “all persons in the jail” (KRS 71.020). If there is a residence in the jail, either the jailer or one of the deputies may live in it (KRS 71.020). The jail must be kept warm, clean, and free from vile odors. Prisoners confined in the jail must have sufficient bed clothing paid by the county (KRS 71.030).

At the time of booking, the jailer must receive and keep in jail any person committed to his or her custody until discharge, unless the prisoner needs emergency medical attention, in which case, the arresting officer must obtain medical attention for the prisoner prior to delivery to the jail. The jailer must treat each prisoner humanely and furnish food and lodging. If a prisoner dies, the jailer must deliver the body to friends, if requested, or have the person decently buried at the county’s expense (KRS 71.040).

Transportation of Prisoners

KRS Chapter 441 mandates the fiscal court of each county to provide for the transportation of prisoners, as necessary, from the jail budget. All vehicles used for the purpose of transporting prisoners must be equipped with security screens and two-way radios. The fiscal court is not required to provide for the transportation of prisoners on work release or of prisoners being held out of the county at the time of their release. RS 441.510 establishes the procedures for the transportation of prisoners. 

Jail Budget

The county jailer has statutory responsibilities in the preparation of the jail budget. Working with the county judge/executive and treasurer, the jailer must develop and provide to the fiscal court a proposed line-item budget and an estimate of revenues from all sources. This must be done by April 1 (KRS 441.215). The fiscal court must consult with the jailer before changing the jail budget, and only the court may transfer funds between line items (KRS 441.215). If the jailer feels that a proposed or amended budget is inadequate, he or she must notify in writing the fiscal court and, if the jail holds state prisoners, the Department of Corrections (KRS 441.215).

KRS 441.235 mandates the county treasurer to keep books of accounts of all receipts and disbursements from the jail budget and to make reports as required by the state local finance officer. The county treasurer, in cooperation with the jailer, must make a monthly report to the fiscal court on

(a) All purchases from the jail account for the preceding month for final fiscal court approval; and

(b) The current condition of the jail account, including all jail revenues received, expenditures for the month, expenditures for the year-to-date and unexpended balances by line item (KRS 441.235).

Reports

Under KRS 441.105(2), the jailer must report monthly to the Department of Corrections the following information on each prisoner:

• Whether the charge is for a felony or misdemeanor

• The statute or ordinance involved

• The unit of government whose law has allegedly been violated

• Whether the prisoner is awaiting trial or has been convicted

• The age and sex

• The county responsible for incarceration

The jailer must also report quarterly to the fiscal court on the condition of the jail, the number of personnel, and personnel needs (KRS 441.105).

Court Services

The jailer is an officer of the Circuit and District Courts of the county. In any county where there is no jail and the jailer does not transport prisoners, the jailer must serve as a bailiff to the Circuit and District Courts (KRS 71.050). A summons or order for provisional remedy in a civil action or proceeding may be directed to the jailer at the request of the party for whom it is issued, provided the jailer is not an interested party (KRS 454.140).

Responsibility for County Buildings

The fiscal court is responsible for maintaining and operating all county buildings, grounds, and other properties. The county judge/executive has the duty of carrying out or executing fiscal court policy in relation to county buildings and property. With agreement by the jailer, the fiscal court may hire the jailer as the superintendent of any buildings or properties at the county seat (KRS 67.130).

Jail and County Property

 The jailer must take charge of furniture, bedding, and property belonging to the jail and any other county property for which he or she may act as superintendent. If any property is lost or destroyed by reason of the jailer’s negligence, the jailer may be liable on his or her official bond (KRS 67.170).

The jailer must take charge of furniture, bedding, and property belonging to the jail and any other county property for which he or she may act as superintendent. If any property is lost or destroyed by reason of the jailer’s negligence, the jailer may be liable on his or her official bond (KRS 67.170).

Jailer’s Residence

 If the county owns the jailer’s residence, the fiscal court must make an annual appropriation sufficient to maintain it in clean, comfortable, and presentable condition. Funds appropriated for the jailer’s residence must be expended by the jailer (KRS 67.130).

If the county owns the jailer’s residence, the fiscal court must make an annual appropriation sufficient to maintain it in clean, comfortable, and presentable condition. Funds appropriated for the jailer’s residence must be expended by the jailer (KRS 67.130).

Jail Canteen

The jailer may operate a canteen for the benefit of the prisoners. The jailer may assign jail employees or prisoners to work in the canteen. The jailer must maintain accounts on the receipts and disbursements of the canteen, and he or she must report to the county treasurer annually on the canteen account. Profits from the canteen must be used for the benefit or well-being of the prisoners. The fiscal court must transfer to the canteen sufficient funds based on the total number of prisoners (KRS 441.135).

Preparing Bail Bond

With the approval of the fiscal court, the jailer may prepare a bail bond pursuant to KRS 30A.060(3). The jailer must collect a fee of $5 from the defendant and provide a receipt. The jailer must pay bonding fees to the county treasurer by the 10th day of each month. The treasurer must deposit the bonding fees in the jail fund (KRS 431.5305).

Work and Educational Release for Misdemeanants

Persons sentenced to jail for a misdemeanor, nonpayment of a fine, forfeiture, or contempt of court may be granted by the court the privilege of leaving the jail during reasonable hours for the purpose of seeking employment, working, conducting business, attending school, obtaining medical treatment, or in the case of a woman, attending to the needs of her family. The jailer shall advise the court in establishing criteria to determine a prisoner’s eligibility for work release. The jailer must notify the Department for Workforce Investment, which must secure employment for unemployed prisoners. Every prisoner gainfully employed must pay for the cost of board in the jail up to 25 percent of his or her gross daily wages, not to exceed $40 per day. The jailer may refuse to let the prisoner leave the jail for any breach of discipline or other violation of jail regulations, for a period not to exceed five days (KRS 439.179).

Work Related to Community Service

If a defendant has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to the county jail, he or she may be required to work at a community-service-related project in the county. Such a project is a task for the state; a county; a city; a special district; an agency of one of these government units; or a non-religious-sponsored nonprofit, charitable, or service organization. The jailer must write a policy governing prisoners working on community service projects, and the policy must be approved by the fiscal court. The jailer must consider the physical and mental ability of each prisoner and the security of the jail and the public when assigning work. The jailer must not assign any prisoner to unduly hazardous work or to work that would endanger others. Any prisoner with a valid medical excuse may decline to work at community-service-related projects without penalty or punishment (KRS 441.125).

Deputies

Deputies have the same powers and are subject to the same penalties as the jailer (KRS 71.060). The jailer is liable on his or her official bond for the conduct of the deputies. This statute also gives the jailer the responsibility for appointing and removing jail personnel. The jailer may dismiss deputies at any time with cause. The number of jail personnel is set by the fiscal court in the jail budget. The fiscal court must establish education and training requirements for deputies as permitted by administrative regulations adopted by the Department of Corrections pursuant to KRS 441.055. If the county has no jail, the jailer is not entitled or permitted to appoint any jail personnel (KRS 71.065).

Deputy jailers are compensated by a salary set by the fiscal court. Deputies’ salaries must be initially set by the first Monday in May of the year in which county officials are elected, but the fiscal court may, by the first Monday in May of successive years, review and adjust such salaries on the request of the jailer (KRS 64.530).

Federal, State, and City Use of the County Jail

The federal government and any city within the county may use the county jail. A jailer must receive and confine in jail, until lawfully discharged, persons committed under the laws of the United States or the ordinances of any city within the county (KRS 441.035). The jailer must also receive persons ordered into confinement prior to trial and persons committed to confinement by the process or mandate of a military court (KRS 35.285 and 35.055).

A prisoner being moved from one state to another may be lodged in the county jail. The jailer must receive and safely keep the prisoner until the person having custody is ready to proceed. Written evidence showing that the prisoner’s extradition has been ordered must be presented by the officer having custody of the prisoner. Expenses of keeping the prisoner are charged to the officer responsible (KRS 440.260).

Transfer of Prisoners

A Circuit judge may, for security reasons, transfer prisoners from one county jail to another or to the penitentiary most convenient to the county (KRS 441.520 and 441.540). When the Circuit judge is not in the county, the District judge may order such transfers. When the sheriff receives an order to transfer prisoners, the sheriff must make the transfer. The sheriff must deliver with the prisoners a copy of the transfer order and take from the receiving jailer a receipt for the prisoners (KRS 441.530). An order directing transfer is conclusive evidence that the transfer is proper and to the correct jail. Such an order justifies the jailer’s holding of any prisoner and protects the jailer in any action for false imprisonment (KRS 441.530).

Duties of a Jailer on Going Out of Office

When any jailer leaves office, he or she must deliver to the successor the custody of the jail and all confined prisoners. The jailer must give the incoming jailer all official papers by which prisoners were committed to custody or released from custody (KRS 71.100)

Compensation

The compensation for county officials, including a jailer who operates a fullservice jail, is established by KRS 64.5275. For additional salary information, refer to Table 1 in Chapter 1 of this publication. In addition, jailers who do not operate fullservice jails receive a salary established by the fiscal court, but that salary cannot exceed the maximum salary of $59,435.29 for calendar year 2006. The minimum salary for 2006 is $20,000 or the 2005 calendar year salary, whichever is greater, as authorized by KRS 441.245.

Consolidation of the Offices of Sheriff and Jailer

Section 105 of Kentucky’s Constitution grants the General Assembly the authority to consolidate the offices of jailer and sheriff in any county, with the sheriff performing the duties of the jailer. The General Assembly has consolidated the offices of sheriff and jailer in counties containing a city of the first class, consolidated local governments, and urban-county governments (KRS 71.110).

Consolidated Local Government Jail

KRS Chapter 67B authorizes fiscal courts in counties containing a city of the first class or consolidated local government in which the offices of jailer and sheriff have been consolidated to create a metropolitan correctional services department. Upon the creation of a department, all the duties and authority of jailers and sheriffs in relation to the county jail or corrections are transferred to the department (KRS 67B.030). The remaining duty of the sheriff pertaining to jails is an annual inspection of and report on county correctional facilities (KRS 67B.070). KRS 67B.050 lists the responsibilities and powers of a metropolitan correctional services department.

Urban-county Jail

KRS Chapter 67A grants the legislative body of any urban-county government in which the offices of sheriff and jailer have been consolidated the power to create a correctional services division. The division is responsible for all duties, responsibilities, and liabilities of the sheriff and jailer with reference to the operation and maintenance of the county jail. The sheriff is responsible for an annual inspection and written report, to be given to the legislative body of the urban-county government and to the commissioner of the Department of Corrections (KRS 67A.028).

Penalties and Restrictions

A jailer may be indicted in the county in which he or she resides for misfeasance or malfeasance in office and for willful neglect in the discharge of official duties. If convicted, the jailer may be fined $100 to $1,000. Upon a judgment of conviction, the jailer must vacate the office (KRS 61.170). If a jailer is convicted of denying the United States or a city within the county the use of the jail or charging these jurisdictions any fees not authorized by law, the jailer shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor (KRS 441.990). The office of jailer is incompatible with other county offices (KRS 61.080). No jailer may be a state or city officer or employee at the same time he or she is serving as jailer (KRS 61.080). A jailer must vacate the office upon acceptance of an incompatible position (KRS 61.090).

For failing to take custody, rule, and charge of the jail and all persons in it, a jailer is subject to conviction for misfeasance in office. The District Court may fine the jailer, or the jailer may be indicted by the grand jury (KRS 71.990). A jailer is liable to the county through official bond for the value of any county property in the jailer’s charge that is lost or destroyed by reason of his or her negligence or fault. The county may enforce this liability by notice and motion in the District Court (KRS 67.170).

Any jailer who willfully conceals or destroys any record with the intent to violate the provisions of KRS 61.870 to 61.884 relating to public records shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for each violation. Any official of a public agency who fails to produce any record after entry of final judgment directing production shall be guilty of contempt (KRS 61.991).