LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Another intimate died while in custody at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC) on Sunday, April 27. 

What You Need To Know

  • Jerry Collins has been named the new director of Louisville Metro Department of Corrections

  • He started at LMDC in 2000 as a correctional officer and worked his way up to a correctional major

  • He plans to address the jail’s staffing, contraband, in-custody deaths and overcrowding issue

  • He replaces Dewayne Clark who announced his retirement

That makes the eighth death at the jail since November. 

The jail is also struggling to keep officers working in the jail and keeping contraband out.

Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Collins will have a full plate on April 4 when he takes over as director of the LMDC. 

Collins is no stranger to LMDC. He was a correctional officer in 2000 and retired from the department as a correctional major in 2021.

“I look forward to re-establishing the relationships I had there and I know the talented folks that are there that care about what’s going on,” says Collins. 

Collins replaces Dewayne Clark.

Clark announced his retirement earlier this month.  It came after a “no confidence” resolution by the Metro Council in February. The  council also passed an emergency resolution to hire former FBI agent David Beyer to investigate Metro Corrections. Beyer will look into the polices and practices at the jail. He will then present his findings to Metro Council

Collins is hoping to make big changes at LMDC with support from the community and metro council. 

“The only way things work is everybody’s involved and everybody recognizes the importance of the reflection of the jail and community, the same problems that are happening in the community are manifested in the jail usually ahead of time and a bigger scale,” says Collins. 

He’s leaning on justice reform and supports ending cash bail for non-dangerous offenders to reduce overcrowding in the jail.

“I think we should have folks that are in jail that are dangerous to the community, not that we’re mad at a lot of folks coming in with mental illness and substance abuse problems. We need to get those folks treatment we needed to increase programming in the jail so we reduce recidivism and folks coming back to the jail,” says Collins. 

Collins says the jail is adding technology,  2 K-9 units and other security measures to keep contraband out. 

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office says 1 of the 8 recent in-custody deaths resulted from an overdose. 

Collins says the FBI may need to look into the other deaths. 

“If there’s civil rights violations in any of those deaths, then we absolutely welcome that,” says Collins.  

The new director believes reversing the ongoing staffing shortage starts from within.  

“I think increasing the wellness of the officers, getting us to be our own recruiters, being proud to wear that uniform is going to be a big step,” says Collins. 

Collins is ready to step up his game this second time around. 

“I’m compassionate about the folks that are incarcerated there. I’m also compassionate about the folks that work there and I’m compassionate about the Louisville community,” says Collins. 

He says those who know him already know that.