Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Harlan County Detention Center: A Comprehensive Analysis

The Harlan County Detention Center, located in Harlan, Kentucky, is a correctional facility that houses both male and female inmates. It is operated by the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office and has a capacity of 200 inmates. The center serves as a temporary holding facility for individuals awaiting trial or sentencing, as well as a long-term facility for those serving sentences of up to one year. In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the Harlan County Detention Center, including its history, facilities, and programs.

History of the Harlan County Detention Center

The Harlan County Detention Center was built in 1994 and has undergone several expansions and renovations since then. It was originally designed to hold 100 inmates, but due to overcrowding, the capacity was increased to 200 in 2007. The center has faced criticism for its conditions and treatment of inmates, leading to multiple lawsuits and investigations.

In 2015, the Harlan County Detention Center was placed under federal oversight after a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of inmates who claimed they were subjected to inhumane conditions and mistreatment. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement that required the center to make significant improvements to its facilities and operations.

Facilities at the Harlan County Detention Center

The Harlan County Detention Center consists of several buildings, including the main detention center, a medical facility, and a vocational building. The main detention center houses both male and female inmates and is divided into different housing units based on security level and gender.

The medical facility provides medical and mental health services to inmates, including routine check-ups, medication management, and emergency care. The vocational building offers educational and vocational programs to inmates, including GED classes, substance abuse treatment, and job training.

The center also has a visitation area for family and friends to visit inmates, as well as a commissary where inmates can purchase items such as snacks, hygiene products, and stationary.

Living Conditions at the Harlan County Detention Center

Inmate living areaThe living conditions at the Harlan County Detention Center have been a subject of controversy. In the past, the center has faced criticism for overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and lack of access to basic necessities such as clean water and adequate food.

However, since the settlement with the ACLU, the center has made significant improvements to its facilities. Inmates now have access to clean water, proper hygiene products, and nutritious meals. The center has also implemented a grievance system for inmates to report any issues or concerns they may have.

Programs Offered at the Harlan County Detention Center

The Harlan County Detention Center offers a variety of programs to inmates to help them prepare for re-entry into society. These programs include educational and vocational opportunities, as well as substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

Educational and Vocational Programs

The center offers GED classes to inmates who have not completed their high school education. Inmates can also participate in vocational programs such as carpentry, welding, and culinary arts. These programs aim to provide inmates with skills and certifications that can help them secure employment upon release.

Substance Abuse Treatment

The Harlan County Detention Center has a substance abuse treatment program for inmates struggling with addiction. The program includes individual and group counseling, as well as educational classes on the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Inmates who complete the program may also receive referrals for continued treatment upon release.

Mental Health Services

Inmates at the Harlan’s County Detention Center have access to mental health services, including counseling and medication management. The center also has a mental health unit for inmates who require more intensive treatment.

Visitation and Communication at the Harlan County Detention Center

Family and friends of inmates can visit them at the Harlan’s County Detention Center during designated visitation hours. Visitors must be on the inmate’s approved visitation list and must follow the center’s dress code and rules of conduct.

Inmates also have access to phone calls and mail. They can make collect calls to approved numbers and receive mail from family and friends. The center also offers video visitation, where inmates can communicate with loved ones through a video call.

How to Find Information about the Harlan’s County Detention Center

The Harlan County Detention Center has a website where you can find information about the center, including visitation hours, rules and regulations, and a list of current inmates. The website also has a section for victims and witnesses, where they can find information about their rights and how to receive notifications about an inmate’s release.

Photos of the Harlan County Detention Center

The Harlan County’s Detention Center website also has a photo gallery where you can view images of the center’s facilities and programs. These photos give a glimpse into the living conditions and programs offered at the center.


The Harlan County Detention Center has faced its fair share of challenges and criticism, but it has also made significant improvements in recent years. With its various programs and services, the center aims to help inmates prepare for life after incarceration. By providing access to education, vocational training, and mental health services, the center hopes to reduce recidivism and promote successful re-entry into society.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. While efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, the details may change over time. For the most current and official information, please refer to the Harlan County Detention Center’s website or contact the center directly. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the Harlan County Detention Center.

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Alena Sakak
Alena Sakak
Alena Sakak is a passionate wordsmith and puzzle enthusiast. With a love for language and a knack for problem-solving, Alena enjoys diving into the world of crosswords, finding solace in the daily challenge of the NYT Mini Crossword. When not unraveling word puzzles, Alena can be found exploring new books or indulging in creative writing endeavors. Join Alena on a journey through the world of words and puzzles.

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