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Controversial Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton announces his retirement. Photo courtesy of Louisville Mayor's office.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton will retire this summer after 40 years in the industry, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday.

Bolton had led the jail through a series of turbulent years, highlighted by its battles with overcrowding, rising drug arrests and numerous other problems. Back in 2017, 87 percent of Fraternal Order of Police members who voted said they had no confidence in Bolton.

According to Friday's news release from Fischer's office, Metro Corrections has become the "largest de facto detox facility in the region." Under Bolton's leadership, the jail has seen technological improvements and GPS tracking.

“Mark has embraced our administration’s mantra of ‘what gets measured gets improved,’ and our Corrections Department is the better for it,” Fischer said in the news release. “He and his team deal with a challenging population, but Mark is committed to treating inmates in a professional and compassionate manner, with a commitment to offering them more opportunity when they leave than when they come in. I am grateful for that.”

At various times over the last few years, the jail has far surpassed its capacity of 1,800, prompting Bolton to move inmates to the 1950s-era jail above LMPD Headquarters. The overcrowding had several residual effects, including plumbing problems, extra overtime for workers, an influx of drugs smuggled inside and violence.

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Louisville Metro Corrections

Bolton began a backpack program in 2015 that equipped discharged inmates clothes, clean socks and underwear, shoes, hygiene items, bus tickets, medication, Medicaid enrollment and resource handbooks on where to get help. He also worked with judges to get more non-violent inmates released to combat the jail's overcrowding issues.

Bolton was was initially appointed by former Mayor Jerry Abramson.

“Throughout my tenure in Louisville, my team and I have stood strong for employee safety, inmate safety and public safety, and remained focused on our community values: transparency, accountability, compassion and our citizen bill of rights,” Bolton said in the release, promising that, in retirement, “I will continue to work as an advocate for criminal justice reform, restorative justice; addiction treatment, homelessness, and mental health advocacy for justice-involved populations, both locally and at a national reform level.

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