Members of the Concurrent Grand Jury said in a final report that during a tour of the Hamilton County Workhouse they found many inmates sleeping.
The panel, headed by Robert Smith, said inmates might be less likely to return to the facility if they are required to exert themselves.
The report, to Judge Rebecca Stern, said, "Since Silverdale is a 'work house', as many inmates as possible should be required to do some type of work, such as trash pick up and yard maintenance. This could serve as a deterrent to committing further crime and returning to Silverdale. Inmates should be required to perform some type of work in order to have television privileges.
"Organized physical activity and self-improvement classes should be required for all inmates."
The panel also recommended that the number of hot meals be cut from three a day to two.
Here is the full report:
The Honorable Rebecca Stern
Judge, Criminal Court, Division II
Hamilton County, Tennessee
The Concurrent Grand Jury for the January – April, 2010 term presents the following report:
The members of the Jury appreciated the opportunity to observe first-hand and be a part of the initial stages of the Criminal Justice System of Hamilton County. Also, the visits to the CCA facility (Silverdale), County Jail, Juvenile Detention Center and Community Corrections were very informative. These visitations, combined with the testimony of the witnesses who appeared before the Jury, gave us insights that few citizens of this County, who are not associated with the Criminal Justice System, ever get to experience.
The testimony of the law enforcement officers made all of us realize the importance and danger of their work. We commend all of those individuals who are members of this profession.
The legal information provided by the Assistant District Attorney, Bill West, was very helpful and appreciated. We also very much appreciated Heather Hughes for serving as the notetaker for this term.
We are charged with reporting on the CCA facility and the Community Corrections Program.
The Concurrent Grand Jury issues the following commendations and recommendations:
The facility is very clean, well maintained and appears to be operated in a professional manner, as evidenced by their being a nationally accredited jail.
The voluntary programs, educational, religious and behavioral, are excellent attempts to assist the inmates to start a rehabilitation program while in jail.
The opportunity to work on or off-site and receive two for one day’s credit is a good way to help inmates in completing their sentences early, while performing valuable service at the facility or in the community.
The overall medical services appear to be adequate for those requiring these services.
The Jury is concerned about the number of inmates who were sleeping during our mid-morning visit. Even though some inmates may have worked a late or an early morning shift, and some cannot be forced to work, e.g. pretrial detainees and federal inmates, there appeared to be too many inmates in bed during our tour.
Since Silverdale is a “work house”, as many inmates as possible should be required to do some type of work, such as trash pick up and yard maintenance. This could serve as a deterrent to committing further crime and returning to Silverdale. Inmates should be required to perform some type of work in order to have television privileges.
Organized physical activity and self-improvement classes should be required for all inmates.
Reduce the number of hot meals from three to two per day, with one cold meal. This should help to reduce the per day costs for the inmates.
Silverdale should not be so comfortable that inmates don’t feel threatened to have to return to this facility.
The House Arrest Program is a very efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
The fact that the individuals on these programs have to pay for some of the expenses also helps save taxpayer funds.
Expand the House Arrest Program.
Even though the programs appear to be well run, if possible, hire more staff to help keep track daily of those on probation or parole.
Use GPS tracking for those convicted of violent or sexual offenses.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Severe and enhanced penalties should be provided by law for individuals convicted of repeat DUI offenses. Since these offenders pose a significant threat to the community, the penalties could include significant jail time, increased fines, and permanent confiscation of the vehicle being driven at the time of the arrest.