Jessica Thomas says she's angry and afraid, but primarily afraid. To her, the fight over jail overcrowding in Fayette County is not some abstract discussion for legal scholars. To her, it represents a fist to the side of her head. She said that when her ex-boyfriend was let out of jail over the weekend, one of his first stops was her apartment where he punched her in the face.
This is exactly the type of situation that prosecutors were worried about. They've been in a battle with Fayette County Judge Mike Whitaker over his releases of jail inmates.
Whitaker says the old Fayette County jail is overcrowded and a fire trap. In the past six weeks, he's let more than 40 prisoners out on their own recognizance.
Understandably, the district attorney and many others are alarmed. Judge Whitaker's actions may be well-intentioned, but his failure to work better with other officials is frightening.
Collectively, all the parties involved in this dispute need to get this resolved so that people like Jessica Thomas are not put at risk needlessly. The next incident could be a lot more serious than the punch Thomas took last weekend.