Louisville Jail Implements New Drug Searching Security Measures After 8th Death

Louisville’s jail is implementing new drug searching security measures, the Department of Metro Corrections announced yesterday evening, hours after revealing the eighth death at the jail since November. 

Barry Williams, Sr., 50, was found unresponsive in his cell on Sunday evening and died at UofL Hospital. The jail has averaged one inmate death every 15 days since the first death on Nov. 29. 

“In light of the drug overdose this morning at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC), LMDC is introducing enhanced security measures to further fight the illicit drugs that are coming into the jail,” a press release from the jail read. “Each day, dozens of attempts are made to get drugs into custody via the mail, secreted in body cavities and through other sources which are under investigation. Many of these attempts are foiled by hard working corrections officers and staff. In spite of the security controls in place, there is valid evidence that contraband, including street drugs, have been placed in mail sent from third persons to inmates at LMDC.”

Not all the deaths at the jail have been overdoses; Three of the deaths were reported as suicides.

Louisville Metro government has also been working on lowering the jail population at LMDC. 

Here are the safety measures that the jail is now implementing, according to the release:

  • Original envelopes and enclosed non-privileged documents sent by mail to an inmate from a third person shall not be delivered directly to the inmate. The mail shall be copied, and the copy shall be delivered to the inmate through the institutional mail.
  • Privileged mail, which includes attorney-client communications, shall continue to be processed pursuant to established policy. That policy permits privileged mail to be opened in the inmate’s presence to allow a cursory examination of the content to ensure there is no contraband intermingled with the privileged mail.
  • Books and magazines received from third parties will be returned to the sender.
  • Effective April 2, newly operational body scanners will be in place to utilize the most up to date technology on drug interdiction. Newly admitted inmates will continue to be frisk searched, placed through a body scanner, and may be strip searched. The frequency of the initial frisk search and strip searches shall increase. Additionally, the frequency of inmate searches, inmate housing unit searches, and searches in public spaces shall increase.
  • LMDC Majors are coordinating a schedule for frequent use of available K-9 drug detection resources to be deployed at LMDC. LMDC is currently in the process of securing its own dogs and training handlers.
  • The use of inmate work-aids for tasks outside the housing unit is being revamped to increase supervision and maximize resources that shall result in fewer inmate work-aides being utilized outside of their housing unit at any given time

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