Harlan Daily Enterprise, Ky., STATE AND REGIONAL NEWS
BYLINE: Debbie Caldwell The Harlan Daily Enterprise
Harlan County, KY
Oct. 05--Warrants have been issued on 11 inmates at the Harlan County Detention Center for a charge of promoting contraband after they allegedly took prescription drugs obtained from an evidence room at the Harlan County Courthouse on Sept. 27.
Harlan County Jailer Curt Stallard said 29 work release program inmates were placed at the old courthouse building to assist in the preparations for installation of a new elevator. The inmates jobs were to remove debris from several rooms where renovations were complete and further construction could begin. "Four inmates were instructed to enter the evidence room on the third floor that used to house evidence and confiscated goods from many older cases in Harlan County," Stallard said. "They were under the supervision of Marvin Goins, supervisor of maintenance at the Harlan County Courthouse. Mr. Goins is also state trained by The Kentucky Department of Corrections to supervise work release inmates. All evidential items were supposed to have been taken out by August of 2010, leaving only scattered trash and large filing cabinets to be removed.
"At the same time the inmates entered the evidence room other inmates were working on all three floors of the building. Three deputy jailers were positioned, one on each floor, to maintain order and keep the general public from accessing the inmates. Due to work release inmates finding pills in the evidence room, 11 of the 29 inmates failed drug tests."
Stallard said as a result of the findings warrants have been issued on all 11 inmates. The inmates also have been given 90 days in isolation and are no longer eligible for the work release program.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said Goins had the inmates taking the metal shelving out of the evidence room and cleaning up debris and trash in the hallways.
"Apparently, there was some evidence left behind that the inmates were clever enough to get their hands on," Grieshop said. "This was an unfortunate incident, because the work release inmates had an opportunity to get their life back on track."
Grieshop said the evidence room hadn't been used in years and he was told most of the items in the room were from the early years. He said the paper items were shredded and other items were turned over to Harlan Circuit Court Clerk Paul Williams office.
Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird said his office didn't use the evidence room and he had no knowledge of what was inside the room.
"This incident proves that the 11 inmates who failed drug tests are not ready to be released from incarceration," Stallard said. "Considering they are still incarcerated, the first opportunity that temptation has put before them and they can't turn it away. What will they do the moment they are released? Over 90 percent of work release inmates are state approved."
The inmates charged include Jesse Brooks, Reggie Cottrell, Timothy Hughes, Wayne Middleton, Calvin Pace, Thomas Reynolds, Chad Saylor, Justin Simpson, Cebert Smith, Dustin Smith and Jimmy W. Smith.
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