Bradley County Studying Work Release Program With 128 Beds

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Bradley County Commission's finance committee on Tuesday voted to take to the full commission next Monday night a project to create a 128-bed work release facility that officials said should pay for itself and help relieve constant overcrowding at the county jail.

Rich Kienlen said he has been talking with a couple of construction firms, including Cope Construction which is offering to use its own funds to construct two pods of 64 beds each for between $2.7 million and $2.9 million. The county would pay 3.85 percent interest in a lease to purchase arrangement. The building would be paid off in seven years.

Mr. Kienlen said there were 474 inmates at the jail Tuesday. It was built to handle 408.

Officials said the jail has a contract to take up to 100 federal prisoners at $55 per day, but it is far below the 100 number and sometimes has trouble finding space for federal inmates.

The county gets $35 per day for housing state inmates.

The prisoners would work during the day and stay in the facility at night.

The location is near railroad tracks behind the Justice Center.

Cope Construction recently built a similar metal facility for Anderson County, it was stated.

The life expectancy of such a temporary building was put at 20 years.

The building would come with picnic tables and bunk beds. The county would need to add a couple of TVs and some washers and dryers, it was stated. Uniforms would need to be secured for the residents and the staff.

Mr. Kienlen said the jail overcrowding "is going to get worse. We've got to look at doing something."

Commissioners said there needs to be an agreement that the sheriff's office would supply an overflow of prisoners for the facility and firmer numbers are needed on the projected costs.

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