Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:32PM - 238 Views

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Julia Roberts Goad

Staff Writer

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — The new Judicial Center being built in Pikeville will open this year, and Pike County Fiscal Court is looking to fill the space several offices will leave behind when they move to the new building.

Brandon Roberts, Media Specialist for the Fiscal Court, explained the third floor of the current Hall of Justice is where the circuit court clerk’s office, and District Judges Kelsey Friend and Darrel Mullins’ courtrooms are located. Those offices will be going to the new Judicial Center.

“The Administrative Office of the Courts currently pays our bond payment, which will cease upon the aforementioned offices moving,” Roberts said. “Thus, the county will then have to pick up that cost.”

Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hayes told the Fiscal Court that he is in negotiations with Richard Steinberg, owner of Westcare, a company that operates a drug rehabilitation facility in the county’s jail.

Hayes said that while there have been strides made in the law enforcement side of the war on drugs, recidivism remains high among drug users who do not enter a rehab program.

“We have been working with our jailer, Rodney Scott, toward using the third floor of the Hall of Justice for a minimum security 120-bed drug rehab facility that would be run by Westcare.”

The prisoners that would be in the facility are state inmate, Hayes said. which means it would be profitable for the county to run such a facility.

The first step in the process is to apply to the Kentucky Department of Corrections for approval of the plan, Hayes explained.

“We are trying to evaluate what it would cost to convert the third floor,” he said. “We don’t want to issue another bond, but we are looking at funds from other sources.”

Among those sources, Hayes says, is a pending lawsuit the county has against Perdue Pharma regarding the company’s marketing of Oxycodone, a highly addictive opiate pain killer.

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