Over the years, we have seen massive growth in Bowling Green and Warren County. Bowling Green is now the third-largest city in the state and sees more and more people move in every year.
Some might say this is a good thing, while others might say they miss the small-town feeling of the old Bowling Green. We certainly understand both sides of that discussion. As the city has grown, we’ve seen many former farms turned into subdivisions and apartment complexes for the growing number of residents.
A byproduct of our fast-growing town that some people might not think about often is crime. Increases in population typically result in more crime, which is why Warren County Jailer Stephen Harmon is doing his best to deal with the increase in inmates in the county’s jail.
Harmon told Warren Fiscal Court last week that the Warren County Regional Jail is seeing rising demand to house local, state and federal inmates. Harmon told magistrates that the jail’s population had recently reached a record high of 770 before settling back down to around 715.
Those figures are well above the 562 permanent metal bunks in the jail, meaning Harmon and his staff must bring in portable bunks and have some inmates sleep on mattresses on the floor. These numbers show that a real problem exists in the jail with finding enough beds and mattresses for the increasing number of inmates.
The jail is required to have two mattresses for each inmate sleeping on the floor, and Harmon said he came up short one day and had to make an emergency purchase.
Fiscal court approved an emergency expenditure of $3,690 to purchase mattresses from Charm-Tex of Brooklyn, N.Y. The magistrates also approved a bid from Texas-based Securus Technologies that will allow Securus to provide a fee-based phone and video service for inmates that will bring more money into the jail’s budget.
Harmon also discussed his ultimate goal of expanding the jail, explaining that the facility was last expanded 20 years ago and that the bond payments on that expansion will end next year.
It’s quite clear that with the area’s growing population and with more and more inmates coming into our jail, expansion of the jail will be necessary.
Warren Fiscal Court has always been good about giving the jail what it needs. We are glad magistrates approved the bid for the new mattresses and phone and video service and are hopeful they will have the necessary funds in the future to give to Harmon to expand the jail. We believe Harmon is doing a fine job as jailer and are glad that he brought these most important issues before the court.