By CHARLES PEARL
and GAYLE COULTER
State Journal Staff Writers
The door opened at Franklin County Regional Jail this morning and 15 state prisoners walked away before completing their sentences, thanks to part of Gov. Paul Patton's plan to avert a $6 million deficit in the corrections budget.
Franklin County Jailer James Kemper told Fiscal Court members Thursday the inmates would be released at 8 a.m. Friday.
Those released early included men convicted of burglary, drug possession, marijuana cultivation, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property and fleeing or evading police, forgery and flagrant nonsupport.
Louisville's Christopher Watson, 42, convicted of cultivating marijuana, said he wasn't planning on ever returning to jail.
"I caught this charge in 1994, and violated probation in 2001 for dirty urine," Watson said. "I lost my wife over this. She had three wonderful kids. And if I had a prayer right now, it would be to just be with them for a minute, to get to go out to dinner."
He said he didn't know if that was possible.
For more on this story, see today's State Journal.