Jails

Budget Battle Unites Nashville Mayor, Sheriff on Jail Project

In an attempt to “extinguish a blazing political fire,” Nashville Councilman Bob Mendes has prepared two amendments that seek to remove $40 million from Mayor Megan Barry’s proposed $475 million budget regarding funding for reconstruction of the downtown Criminal Justice Center and the sheriff’s office. The Tennessean reports one amendment would remove $20 million requested by the mayor to to improve jail facilities on Harding Place, where inmates will be housed as the Criminal Justice Center is renovated into a new jail facility. Barry and Sheriff Daron Hall filed a joint statement urging the council to approve the $40 million request. 

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State's Newest Private Prison Stops Accepting Inmates

The Associated Press reports a “series of problems” are behind the reason Trousdale Turner Correctional Center has stopped taking inmates after four months of full operation. According to a memo obtained by the AP through an open records request, guards were not in control of the housing units and were putting inmates in solitary confinement for no documented reason. The Tennessee Department of Correction Assistant Commissioner said they are holding off on sending prisoners to the Hartsville facility due to recruiting and staffing issues.

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Lawmaker: Prisons Should Report Who Has Hepatitis C

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, today said state prisons “need to tell us who has hepatitis C,” The Tennessean reports. Windle’s comments come in the face of a hepatitis C epidemic previously reported by The Tennessean. The source reports only a fraction of roughly 21,000 inmates in the state have been tested for the disease. 

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Report: Prisons Do Not Notify Victims if Attackers Have Hepatitis C

The Tennessean explores “privacy versus saving lives” as it reports the state prison system does not notify a victim who was raped by an inmate with hepatitis C.  At least 3,487 Tennessee inmates — about one in eight — have tested positive for hepatitis C. Health and legal experts suggest treating people with the condition in the prison system could potentially eliminate the disease in society altogether. 

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Temporary Inmate Relocation Sparks Outrage in Nashville

Some Nashville community members are outraged over plans to temporarily house inmates this summer in existing buildings off Harding Place, The Tennessean reports. Residents cited concerns last night at a community meeting about safety of neighborhoods and the loss of use of Ezell Park, where staff from the sheriff’s office will move their operations for a projected three years.

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Architects to Present Plans for New Madison County Jail

Nine architectural firms will present plans to the Madison County Jail Project Screening Committee for the new jail to be built behind the Criminal Justice Complex, 515 S. Liberty St. in Jackson. The new jail will consist of about 600 to 700 beds, The Jackson Sun reports.  The 303-bed Criminal Justice Center will remain operational.

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Claiborne Jail Renovations Move Forward

The Claiborne Jail Committee will move forward with $700,000 in state-mandated jail renovations. The Claiborne Progress reports the amount had been worked into the original costs of a jail expansion project, but that project is in limbo as signatures are needed to bring the issue to a ballot. Later this year, officials will appear before the Board of Control to show what has been done to address overcrowding in order to maintain accreditation.

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Compassionate Release Program Criteria Debated

The U.S. Sentencing Commission has been tasked with developing criteria that courts and prisons will use to determine inmates eligible for the Bureau of Prisons' compassionate release program. The program allows for early release of certain inmates for "extraordinary and compelling" reasons. The Justice Department’s inspector general has criticized the program for lacking clear and consistent standards. Read more from the Associated Press.

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Reported Prison Assault Numbers Increase

The Tennessean reports there have been 119 assaults against Tennessee correctional officers since Jan. 11, following prison officials changing the definitions of assault on officers and inmates. The American Correctional Association recommended that the state change its definitions for assaults. Following the implementation of those definitions, department Commissioner Derrick Schofield said he assumed the number of reported assaults would increase. The Tennessean also reports Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today said he is "adamantly opposed" to a state measure that would reconstitute a corrections oversight committee.

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Knox County Receives Grant for Judicial Diagnostic Tool

Knox County won a grant, valued at up to $365,000, to develop a diagnostic tool to help judges determine which citizens accused of crimes could be released pending trial without posting bond. The program, operated under the Knox County’s Sheriff’s Office, is in an effort to alleviate jail overcrowding. Read more from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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