The Kentucky Department of Corrections said Wednesday that the department is expanding its public alert system to include halfway houses when inmates escape.
McCracken County commissioner Bill Bartleman said the alerts are in direct response to issues with Keeton Corrections- a halfway house located in a residential area of Paducah.
The privately-owned halfway house has come under scrutiny from city leaders following the escapes of several inmates in recent years.
City Commissioner Richard Abraham has said more than 160 inmates have escaped from the facility since 2013. Bartleman clarified the number of escaped inmates from the halfway house is actually below the statewide average number in other similar facilities. He said there have been three escaped inmates from the facility in the past two years- though they’ve had several parolees violate their parole. These individuals live at the halfway house but are not committed to secure custody like inmates. The expanded alert service does not cover parolees.
Bartleman said after an escape in August, he asked Commissioner Jim Erwin to add the halfway house to the alert system.
“The main concern is the safety of the residents around there, anything the state can do, or the county can do, or the city can do to make it safer is very positive. And the state is taking actions to make it as safe as possible,” he said.
The notification system ‘AlertXpress’ has already been used by the department for more than a decade to provide public alerts in instances where an inmate escapes from a prison.
People can call 1-866-445-2867 and register by the zip code of the halfway house. The automated service will call back with a pre-recorded message if an inmate escapes and will call again when the escapee is in custody.