COVID-19 has led to a huge financial hit for the Clay County Detention Center leaving several employees without jobs, according to jailer Linda Smallwood.

Smallwood says she’s had to lay off six employees due to lack of work and funding.

“The virus has shut down our work release and transport to court,” Smallwood said. “There is a lack of work because we also lost over 100 state inmates that were housed at our facility.”

Those inmates amass a loss of over $100,000 a month to the jail’s budget, Smallwood added.

New guidelines due to COVID-19 has stopped all work release programs throughout the state.

“As of now they’re not going to allow us to do work release,” Smallwood said.  “Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 at the Green River Detention Center they’re (Ky. Department of Corrections) afraid to allow inmates access outside the jail for community work.  I know this has caused our roadside litter to be unbearable and has put our cemeteries in a hardship, but there is nothing we can do until this mandate is lifted.”

The jailer says with things reopening across the state she believes detention centers will be one of the last things the public will see restrictions lifted from.

“The Department of Corrections says they will be re-evaluating all this throughout the coming weeks,” she said.  “But if we don’t see a huge decline in positive cases I don’t know when they’ll allow us to go back to our normal procedures.”

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