Boyle County Hero Uses Innovation and Technology to Stop a Growing Problem in Its Tracks

DECEMBER 27, 2016 DANVILLE, KY  –  Today Telmate, a leader in inmate communications, recognizes Jailer Barry Harmon of Boyle County Detention Center, Kentucky, as the company’s Telmate Hero award recipient for December. The Telmate Heroes Award recognizes exemplary performance in the field of corrections and law enforcement combined with the use of innovative technologies.

The devoted 14-year corrections veteran and former volunteer staff chaplain said he’s always felt a strong need to invest in the future of inmates and the transformation of their lives. “If you work in a prison or jail, you find out you’re dealing with people and they do have value.”

In his current role, the technologically savvy Harmon is constantly on the look-out for innovative and efficient ways to deal with the growing problem of overcrowding in Kentucky jails. The Boyle County Detention Center is a 220 bed facility that averages anywhere from 340 to 360 inmates, 90% of whom are incarcerated for drug related sentences.

Working with cooperation from local judges, Harmon recently received court approval to implement a unique outpatient treatment for inmates who are drug addicts and alcoholics. Inmates serving thirty days in jail will have the option to apply for outpatient treatment. If program-eligible, they would be released and report to a central location eight hours a day.

“Not only will this ease overcrowding here,” explained Harmon, “but we’re treating the cause and not covering it by putting somebody in jail so they’re out of society.”

A Telmate customer since 2008, he relies on Telmate technology as their inmate communications system, including wireless tablets, and the facility’s phone, video visit and messaging system, to find new ways for inmates and facility staff to benefit, while providing security and control over the overcrowded facility and protecting the local community.

“If an inmate’s occupied with a tablet it means they’re not getting into unacceptable behavior or in their fellow inmate’s hair with the limited space we have,” said Harmon.” He added that the tablet’s messaging system means a reduction in physical mail and related contraband issues, while paperless grievances, requests, and commissary ordering reduce expensive staff time and human error. Also, the tablet features a law library that minimizes the need for escorted inmate movement within the facility.

The jailer added that other Telmate products like video visitation not only free up a tremendous amount of staff manpower, but also makes the facility safer because there is no need for walking inmates from one place to another. Additionally, video visits help connect inmates with families that are too far away to visit and a much broader window to make that contact.

Jailer Harmon is an ordained Baptist minister who loves music, leads band at his church, and plays a variety of keyboards. He likes to make a difference in people’s lives, like providing volunteer relief to Haitians devastated by the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Harmon recently led a volunteer team on an eight-day expedition to provide medical aid, and deliver food and water to hurricane victims in the small village of Port-au-Ceil.

The Telmate vision is to create secure technology that empowers inmates to break the cycle of recidivism, while protecting and serving facilities and their communities. For more information about the Telmate Heroes program or to nominate your own hero, please visit