Local groups protest new jail in Oldham County

BUCKNER, Ky. (WDRB) –  A new jail is set to open soon in Oldham County, and some local organizations are not happy about it. A handful of people spent their Sunday protesting outside the jail.

Protesters with Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice, Stand Up Sunday, Minjente, and the Kentucky Alliance Against Political and Racist Repression said it's not the jail itself they have a problem with, it’s what they think it could mean for illegal immigrants.

“We're concerned about what the new jail here in Oldham County signifies,” Rev. James Flynn said.

The jail has yet to open its doors, but it will nearly triple the number of inmates it can hold.

Oldham County Jailer Mike Simpson said the new jail facility has 332 beds, while the current center, built in 1989, only holds 115 inmates.

“Our population has gone up. We house for several difference agencies. We house for a couple different adjoining counties, but we also have state inmates, federal and we currently have a contract with immigration,” Simpson said.

That contract is what had these protesters standing outside in the cold carrying signs that read, "All of our ancestors were immigrants. They made this country great."

The protesters fear the jail will partner with immigration services and increase deportations.

“We’re concerned that people will be rounded up who are here illegally, but at the same time without any criminal record,” Flynn said.

Protesters also said they’re worried about racial profiling, just to find illegal immigrants.

“There has to be some concern about welcoming people who are here not according to some laws. The laws need to be changed,” Flynn said.

The jail is expected to open sometime next month.

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