PRESTONSBURG – Drugs continue to be a problem in Eastern Kentucky and one local facility is doing its part to crack down. Floyd County Detention Center Jailer Stuart “Bear” Halbert is determined rid his facility of drugs. On Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies searched individuals coming into the jail for inmate visitation. Anyone coming into the jail is subject to search.
Sheriff Deputy Josh Davis scanned individuals with a metal detector before they were allowed upstairs at the detention center. Once individuals were upstairs they were asked to empty their pockets while a deputy did a pat down. The purpose of the day’s strict visitation routine is the result of finding drugs and other contraband in the visitation area on several different occasions recently.
“We are finding contraband constantly in the visitation area and we have to get a handle on the drugs and other contraband coming into the facility,” said Halbert. “Suboxone, a drug that is supposed to help stop drug withdraws is 80 percent of the drug problem, here at the jail. The films are flat and easier than most other drugs to hide.”
Drugs have been found hidden under the garbage bag in the bathroom and even in what looked to be a discarded chip bag. In addition to hiding drugs and other contraband in the visitation room, inmates sometimes convince others to attempt to throw drugs over the fence of the basketball court at the jail.
Since Halbert took over as jailer in 2015, the jail has sent 53 cases of promoting contraband to the grand jury. A total of 35 cases were convicted. Five cases were dismissed and 18 are still pending.
“We want to send a message that if you try to smuggle drugs into the Floyd County Detention Center you will be caught,” said Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt. “Jail should be the first step of recovery for an inmate suffering addiction.”
Individuals caught trying to smuggle drugs into a detention facility if convicted could face a one- to five-year jail sentence and will have a felony on their record.
Drugs, cell phones, tobacco, and lighters are among the contraband that has been found inside the jail.
According to jail officials, a typical visitation day includes nearly 200 visitors. On Wednesday, only 50 individuals showed up for visitation.
Wednesday’s search resulted in one arrest.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.