Spend a night behind bars in the new jail

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By Amanda Manning

 Have you ever wanted to spend a night in jail without actually being arrested? 

Now is your once in a lifetime chance to spend the night at the new Oldham County Detention Center.  

For the first time in the county’s history, in return for a donation to a local nonprofit, you can spend a night in the brand new facility in Buckner. 

Oldham County Jailer Mike Simpson came up with the idea that Oldham County Fiscal Court is helping implement. 

On Friday, Jan. 5, local residents can be part of a dress rehearsal for the jail staff.

Once the volunteer inmates arrive on site, they’ll be booked in – including a mug shot taken on the system the jail uses for actual arrests. 

And if you want to look the full part, you can trade your pajamas for a striped jumpsuit for the night.

“If you want, we can put restraints on you,” Simpson added.

After being booked in according to your preferences, you can head to your 10-person cell with your fellow donors. 

Although you will be in a typical cell that has an open shower and toilet, private restrooms will be available on this night.

Contributors will be able to sleep on the new mattresses in the beds and will be provided with blankets. “Everybody just literally sleep in here, get that feel,” Simpson said. “I can assure you, no one else would have slept in it because it’s brand new.”

The night will also be complete with dinner, breakfast and a tour of the facility. 

“What I will be able to do is take 30 of them at a time and do a quick walk through and eventually bring you back to your living quarters for that night,” Simpson explained.

“We have a closed circuit channel in the entire building, so if we want to go in the control room and just pop in a movie, “The Shawshank Redemption,” The Green Mile, play some stuff like that,” Simpson said. 

Judge-Executive David Voegele also suggests bringing games to play.

The county plans to ask the charities what they think the minimum donation should be at a meeting on Friday. 

Simpson said he’s not sure if this type of event has ever been put on in the state. “In my 30 something years, I don’t think it’s ever been done in Kentucky. Not that I’m aware of, especially in a brand new facility,” he said.

Some of the other logistics, including parking and age limits, will also be worked out in the meeting with the local organizations.

“We’re not making light of crime,” Voegele explained. “We’re giving staff a realistic exercise and donating back to the community.”

The jailer says that you’ll learn details during the sleepover that you might not otherwise.

“This is your building. It’s your tax dollars. Why did we build it? Ask the questions,” Simpson said. “I’ll answer anything and everything and I’ll probably get some tough questions, but that’s okay.”

An informational meeting will be held for local nonprofits on Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Fiscal Court building.

For more information, contact Deputy Judge-Executive Kevin Nuss at 222-9357 or knuss@oldhamcountyky.gov.