LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County has seen a 20 percent increase in felony arrests since last year. Officials believe that's one reason why Metro Corrections is well over maximum capacity.

"I think you're seeing that all over the country in large urban areas, so it's not a surprise," said Mark Bolton, Louisville Metro Corrections Director.

It may not be a surprise, but it's definitely taking its toll on jails across Kentucky.

"We are consistently running between 2,000 and 2,100 inmates on any given day. We have an operational capacity of 1,793," Bolton said.

Emergency protocol was put in place Tuesday to help deal with the overcrowding crisis at Metro Corrections.

The old jail above Louisville Metro Police Department Headquarters is used to house the overflow of inmates.

"The way that the emergency order will work is if that housing unit is open above LMPD headquarters, that means that emergency order will be in effect for that week," Bolton said.

As arrest rates increase, space becomes a growing concern at the jail.

"Police bring them, we take them," Bolton said.  

The jail at Liberty and Sixth Streets is supposed to supervise inmates, not hold them for long periods of time.

Once an inmate receives his or her sentence, the Kentucky Department of Corrections is supposed to transport them to a state facility.

But lately, things are moving slow.

"We have right now, today, about 80 inmates that we are waiting to move to state corrections," Bolton said.

Some inmates have waited more than 100 days to be transported by state corrections.

"We had 33 inmates moved last week," Bolton said. "We historically move between 60 and 100 inmates a week to a state jail bed. That has really ramped down since around February of this year, which has created our capacity issues here."

Using the old jail will be a short-term solution until officials can find a quicker, more efficient way to transport inmates out of Metro Corrections.

"It's a big challenge right now, just in terms of the numbers," Bolton said. "Bed space is finite, and it's not just finite here, it's finite all across the state."

Metro Corrections will continue to use the emergency order until overcrowded conditions are solved.

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