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Wed, Mar 29, 2017 12:22 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Martin federal prison to get inmates in September
by Cletus Turner

INEZ — USP Big Sandy warden Dan Dove said the new federal prison on Ky. 3 in Martin County is set to receive minimum-security prisoners Sept. 30 and high-security prisoners in November.

“Due to construction delays and the fact the prison wasn’t included in the fiscal year 2003 budget, we weren’t able to move into the prison until last month,” Dove said. “We already have 83 on staff and look forward to building to 75 percent staff by September 30. The facility cost $147 million to complete.”

The facility has a capacity of 980 inmates, but Dove said the facility will probably have 1,400 inmates. The prison will have over 400 employees, with 60 percent of those jobs being available to the surrounding communities.

“Our mission is to protect the public,” Dove said. “But we also utilize tax dollars to instill in the inmates a sense of a good work ethic, discipline, respect for others, to help educate them and turn them into productive citizens.”

GED classes will be offered to inmates who do not have a strong academic background.

“There will be minimum-security inmates who will help to maintain the 300 acre facility,” Dove said. “Those inmates are ones who have not committed a violent crime. They have been found guilty of embezzlement or fraud.”

The high security inmates also have a job, Dove said, and will be working as mechanics, in the food service and will also be involved in the Federal Prison Industries. The inmate generally puts in a seven-and-a-half hour day unless they are mentally or physically unable to work.

Dove said only one percent of all inmates are currently serving life sentences.

“The average sentence in minimum security is three to four years, in high security it is 12-15 years,” Dove said. “The only time a high security inmate is out of the facility is when they are transferred or if they need medical treatment in the community. While they are out, the inmates have four prison staffer with them at all times.”

Dove said the prison would help spur growth in the five-county area, which includes Pike, Floyd, Martin, Johnson and Magoffin.

“I would not be surprised to see Rt. 3 turn into a very busy road with hotels, restaurants and houses along it,” Dove said. “That is one thing our employees will need — housing. Federal employees do not make a lot of money, but will need a place to live. We don’t dictate where our employees live, but we encourage them to live near the facility.”

Of the 83 employees already on site, Dove said 15 are from the five surrounding counties. There have been 150 applications with 69 receiving commitments—38 from the five county area. Dove said the facility would be 75 percent staffed by Sept. 30 and 91 percent staffed during 2004. The prison will have a $30 million annual budget of which 80 percent will be for salaries and expenses and 20 percent for operations.

“We expect our staff to be good citizens in their community, to be good employees on and off the job, and to have a strong support of the community,” Dove said. “We have had a great deal of support from the community and we really appreciate it.”

Dove said most families of the high security inmates are not followed by their families.

“It doesn’t usually happen, but sometimes some do,” Dove said. “If that happens and there is a problem, we would work on the situation on a case-by-case basis.”

The prison will have a firing range which will be available to local, state and federal law enforcement officials.

“We support local law enforcement,” Dove said.

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