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Hardin County Jailer Danny Allen has been tapped by the governor to serve on a commission to create strategic plans for state and community corrections programs.
Gov. Steve Beshear appointed Allen, who has been jailer since January 2011, in June to serve on the Kentucky State Corrections Commission.
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, the commission consists of 23 members and is attached to the Office of Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. One member must be a jailer, who is appointed by the governor.
Its goal is “to develop and implement a statewide strategic plan for the state and community corrections programs,” according to KRS.
The commission meets four times a year, not including special meetings, Allen said. He considers the appoint “an honor,” he said.
“I’ve never been appointed by the governor to anything,” said Allen, who has been in public office for 25 years. “I’ve been put on committees no one else wanted to be on before.”
According to Allen, the commission primarily designates allotments for several alcohol and substance abuse programs across the state, such as state-approved grants for drug courts and the jail’s Substance Abuse Program.
Allen applied for an open position on the commission after someone he knows in the lieutenant governor’s office called and recommended he submit an application, he said.
“To be truthful, I almost forgot about it,” the jailer said. “Then I got a call one day from the governor’s office. This lady called, she said, ‘I’m from the governor’s office.’ I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, who has called the governor’s’s office griping?’”
Hardin County Detention Center is among the largest jails in the state, Allen said, and is lucky to have an SAP program on site so inmates don’t have to travel to another county for treatment.
“I’m learning a lot,” he said. “Sometimes I get out of here fussing and griping. Then I go and hear what they deal with, and I think, ‘We’re pretty blessed here.’”
Allen said listening to experiences from SAP participants can be “unreal” to hear how low some reached before entering substance abuse treatment.
“The outside perception of a jail is everybody is a real mean, bad person,” Allen said. “They’re not. A lot of them are good people like we are. They just made a bad choice or a bad decision.”
He added, “My thing is, if you can show them a different way, they’re going to be able to take care of themselves, their family.”
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or email@example.com.