Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:00 am
Office seeking: Barren County Jailer
Name: Matt Mutter
Previous political positions: Currently serving as Barren County Jailer
Why are you running for this position? I am seeking re-election to the office of Barren County jailer to continue the high quality of service that we have provided the past few years. During my first term as Barren County jailer, many significant changes have taken place. The most crucial change has been moving into a new Detention Center three years ago. We are operating a larger facility, with more inmates, and less staff. Our budget and finances are in excellent condition. After everything we have achieved in the last four years, we are still capable of much more. We consistently receive excellent inspections and audits. I want the Barren County Detention Center to continue to be a model for other jails across Kentucky. I am proud of my staff and our accomplishments. When re-elected as Barren County jailer, I will maintain the forward progress that is already in motion.
What is the most pressing issue facing your office? The most pressing issues of any jail are financial stability, safety/security, and recidivism. I have been addressing these issues for the past six years. Since I began overseeing daily operations in July 2008, Barren County Detention Center’s finances have steadily improved. Our current budget is $12,500 less than it was in 2008. Our incoming revenue is paying for jail operations costs. I have taken measures to improve security of our facility. We now use X-ray machines and drug dogs to help reduce contraband in the jail. Our deputies receive more training now than ever before. It makes me proud when other Jailers/staff visit our facility to observe us and take our ideas back to their home counties. We have introduced programs to help reduce recidivism rates. For example, our Moral Reconation Therapy program has been very successful. These programs teach inmates how to prepare for re-entry into the civilian world. We intend to help as many inmates as possible, so hopefully they won’t be a returning statistic. As the Barren County jailer, These are only a few of the critical issues I am already managing.
What distinguishes you from your opponent? The most important distinguishing features between my opponent and me are experience and knowledge. I have been a public servant my entire adult life. I have served as a United States Navy gunners mate, Barren County deputy jailer, Glasgow Police officer, Barren County deputy sheriff, and now Barren County Jailer. I have accumulated over 1,500 law enforcement training hours during my 22-year career. I am the only candidate with experience in every aspect of jail operations. I have been overseeing Barren County jail daily operations since July 2008. I am knowledgeable in Kentucky Jail Standards. I supervised the move into a new facility three years ago. I have experience in balancing our $2 million budget each year. Under my leadership, revenue from housing state inmates is paying for our jail operations, at no cost to taxpayers. Not only do I spend 60-70 hours per week at the jail, I’m also very active in our community. I’ve been a Red Cross Elementary Site-Based Council member for the past seven years. I’m also an active member of many local organizations such as: Glasgow Kiwanis Club, Barren County Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Junior Achievement.
If elected, what changes, if any, would you make? One aspect I would like to work on during the next four years is expanding on our rehabilitation programs. Recidivism (repeat offenders) is a concern of every jailer. During my term, I have introduced programs to help inmates re-integrate with society. Classes include: GED, AA, Why Try, Moral Reconation Therapy, and many religious services. Inmates are taught life skills needed to function in today’s world. I will continue to develop and expand these programs. Although our facility is called a Detention Center, I feel like it is our responsibility to be more than that. I would also like to focus on becoming an accredited facility through the American Correctional Association. This is a process in which the facility is held to higher standards than the Kentucky Jail Standards. Barren County Detention Center has been called a “model facility.” We are constantly striving to uphold that reputation and continue to improve.
While on the campaign trail, what have your constituents had to say about what the office should be doing? The feedback I have received from the community has been positive. The general public is pleased with our excellent inspections and audits. The general public is pleased that our budget is $12,500 less than what it was six years ago. Barren County residents have expressed to me the need for more programs to help inmates. To help reduce recidivism, a jailer must implement new and innovative programs. Our current MRT class is a perfect example. This program focuses on helping inmates to re-learn how to live their everyday lives. Citizens have told me they would like for our inmates to learn skills to help them get jobs. In the future, I would like to have a greenhouse on jail grounds. Hopefully, this would teach inmates gardening skills and help them be productive. Overall, Barren County citizens are happy with the way the Detention Center is run. They are happy with the progress we have made in my first term. Barren County Detention Center has been called a “model facility” and we strive every day to make the constituents proud of us.