Citing poor public image and looking for a “fresh start”, Louisville Metro Corrections is considering re-branding itself to Kentuckiana Corrections, according to spokesperson Randy Watson. He said the move was considered after a survey of the public, including former inmates, came back with negative results.
“There was some positive feedback, but overall the (survey results) were not very good,” said Watson. “The general public, and our former inmates specifically, seem to have a negative view of our (jail) facility”.
Several suggestions were made, mostly by former inmates, on how to improve the jail, however none of those changes were realistic, according to Watson. Suggestions included installing 4D televisions, allowing Uber Eats deliveries to inmates, larger cells with “at least” queen size mattresses, unlimited recreational time, and for massage chairs to be available in the common area of each jail pod.
“It appears that the things people don’t like about jail – cramped living conditions, poor food, and lack of luxury amenities – are all things we can’t change”, said Watson. “So, we thought about painting the outside of the building, but turns out its mostly brick and windows. We also considered having a ‘game night’ for the inmates, but quickly realized that the game pieces could be made into weapons”.
Out of ideas, LMDC hired a marketing firm to assist, and the idea for a possible re-branding came up almost immediately, and to positive responses from LMDC management. “(Management) all loved the idea. It’s catchier, it’s shorter, both words start with a hard “C” sound, and most importantly, ‘Kentuckiana Corrections’ has a homier, more welcoming feel to it. ‘Louisville Metro Department of Corrections’ just sounds so official”.
Implementing the change is still up in the air, as the cost of re-branding is not in the current budget. Critics of the change say that money would be better used to hire more corrections officers.
“The current facility is grossly understaffed, creating tremendous problems,” said community activist Charles Grodin. “Using any funds to change the name of the department instead of addressing the real problems is both fiscally and socially irresponsible”.
Despite the criticism, Watson says the possible change is on the table for 2019. “The biggest thing is we need to use up all the letterhead, forms, office supplies, as well as staff shirts and badges branded with LMDC before possibly making a change,” he said. “We are advising all staff to wash their uniforms, including administrative staff’s polo shirts, with harsh detergents so they will wear out faster. If we have to order all new (supplies and uniforms) anyway, then making the change won’t impact the budget nearly as much”.