Jail Inspection Reveals that Facility Continues to Have Deficiences

Fentress County Sheriff Tony Choate and County Executive Fank Smith were notified last week that the Tennessee Corrections Institute had recently conducted the annual inspection of the local facility, and that the jail does not meet all the applicable standards.

For more than a year now, the jail has been operating under a waiver from the Tennessee Corrections Institute since construction on the new jail/justice center is underway.

According to the report by Inspector Joe Ferguson, the facility was inspected on June 17, and revealed safety and security concerns, primarily to the severe overcrowding conditions.

The day of the inspection, there were 56 inmates housed in the facility, which is certified for 20.  During the last 4 months, the average daily population of the jail was 51.

There were 12 female inmates being housed in two small holding cells, which is in violation of square footage, and there were 44 male inmates, which was in violation of square footage, shower/toilet ratio, and there were no showers available to inmates without having to be moved to another area within the facility, and there were no outside recreational area available on the facility grounds.

The report, however, commented that Sheriff Choate, Jail Administrator Rogers, and the staff were performing their duties to the best of their abilities in regard to the severe overcrowding issues.

The report also noted that classification of prisoners on custody requirements, housing assignments,  and participation in correctional programs are impossible due to the overcrowding issues.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.