Kentucky jailer resigns following two years of problems at facility

Boyd County Detention Center has had its share of troubles the past two  years.
Boyd County Detention Center has had its share of troubles the past two years.

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (KT) – An embattled Kentucky jailer resigned Monday following two-years of rash incidents at the Boyd County Detention Center, culminating with two deaths in the last four days.

Boyd County Jailer Joe Burchett submitted a letter to Boyd Fiscal Court, which in turn appointed jailer-elect William Hensley to take over the job a month early.

Burchett sent his letter through an attorney to Boyd County Judge-Executive Steve Towler, saying he was stepping down with sadness and would miss being a public servant.

Hensley, who would have taken over the jail on Jan. 7, told The Daily Independent on Monday afternoon he will "immediately take steps to insure the safety of everyone at the jail.

"The safety of the people who work there, the inmates, the community," Hensley said. "We are going to be working on getting the equipment, working on policy, procedures and training, and we want to make sure everyone understands the need for accountability."

Hensley said he would begin with physical security and purchasing a body scanner that would detect inmates carrying drugs into the jail in body cavities. He also will try to obtain extra staff training through the Department of Corrections Jailer’s Association.

Kentucky State Police are investigating the deaths of Michael L. Moore, 40, who was found dead at the jail last Thursday. Early Sunday morning, inmate Charles Shaw Finley, 36, died from an overdose and six months ago another inmate, Laura Riley, 44, died at the jail.

Last week, inmate Michael L. Moore, 40 of Ashland, was found dead at the jail. The Kentucky State Police are investigating the circumstances of the death and said they could not rule out criminal means.

On Saturday inmate Charles Shawn Finley, 36, of Ashland, overdosed and died. He had been in custody at the jail for a period of weeks. Six months ago a third inmate died at the jail due to acute methamphetamine intoxication. Laura Riley, 44, had been in custody for two days at the time of her death.

The jail has been a source of community concern for two years with numerous escapes, a jail riot and fire and multiple drug overdoses.

Burchett, 68, has been the Boyd County jailer since 2003. He was indicted on a charge of malfeasance or neglect of county officer.
According to the indictment, Burchett unlawfully and knowingly committed the misdemeanor crime by willfully neglecting the discharge of his official duties as a public officer between March 1, 2017 and Feb. 18, 2018.




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