County May Sell Workhouse To CCA And Close Downtown Jail; Hammond Says Future Careers Of Jail Staff Is "Non-Negotiable"

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Tuesday the county is looking into selling the workhouse property at Silverdale to the private Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) that now operates the facility.

He said CCA would then build a new facility at the site that would have at least 600 beds for inmates.

That would allow the county to close the high-rise downtown jail on Walnut Street that numerous grand juries have recommended be replaced. That jail has drawn complaints since it was built.

County Mayor Coppinger said the county plans to hire the PFM government financial advising firm to study the deal.

County Mayor Coppinger said, "We will see if this will work, or if we go back to the drawing board."

He said CCA would also add space at Silverdale for additional juvenile defendants. 

The county has 132 correctional officers at the jail. The county mayor said there would be efforts to allow them to shift to CCA.

The current county contract with CCA expires next April. CCA has operated the workhouse for the county since 1984.

County Mayor Coppinger said, "They can operate it much more cheaply than we can."

The move, he said, would remove the county from any liability regarding prisoners.

Sheriff Jim Hammond, who now oversees the jail, said, "Each year, for at least the past decade, the Hamilton County Grand Jury’s report to the judges, mayor and County Commission has stressed the need for another jail.  Our current jail that was built in 1976 is badly in need of repairs and is also too labor intensive.  The current jail is 39 years old and of a linear design, which is no longer efficient to operate.  It is simply costing us and our citizens too much money to operate.

"That does not mean, however, that the sale of the workhouse to CCA and the closing of the current jail is a planned event at this time. What it does mean is that we need a professional study group to determine what alternatives and options are available and cost effective for the jail. That study would determine our current and future needs for space and the cost of building a new jail.  A study like that may take up to a year and then building a new jail would take at least another 12-18 months."

Sheriff Hammond also said, "Tennessee sheriffs are constitutional officers and are mandated by state law to operate a jail in their counties.  My responsibility is to safely and humanly operate our jail, keeping the prisoners safe and keeping our citizens safe.”

He added, "I am quite clear in stressing that whatever negotiations take place, the future careers of my staff in the jail is non-negotiable.”

 

 

 


Police Blotter: Doller General Shoplifter Returns; Landlord Visits Tenants At 2 A.M.

2 Fugitives Arrested Friday Afternoon On Shallowford Road

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report


A shoplifting was reported at the Dollar General, 2303 E. 23rd St. Police spoke with the store manager, who said an unknown black female had run out of the store with a trash bag full of items ... (click for more)

Detectives with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Division went to 6220 Shallowford Road on Friday at 2:45 p.m. to attempt to locate and arrest fugitives Shawn Cranfield, 42, and ... (click for more)

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ARNOLD, TAMI MARIE 1526 DALLAS LAKE ROAD HIXSON, 37343 Age at Arrest: 53 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Police Blotter: Doller General Shoplifter Returns; Landlord Visits Tenants At 2 A.M.

A shoplifting was reported at the Dollar General, 2303 E. 23rd St. Police spoke with the store manager, who said an unknown black female had run out of the store with a trash bag full of items without paying. The woman then fled in a white four-door sedan with a drive out tag. The manager estimated the value of items taken around $200. While working on the report at a separate location, ... (click for more)

2 Fugitives Arrested Friday Afternoon On Shallowford Road

Detectives with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Division went to 6220 Shallowford Road on Friday at 2:45 p.m. to attempt to locate and arrest fugitives Shawn Cranfield, 42, and Erika Bell, 29. Cranfield had outstanding Hamilton County warrants on the following charges: possessing a firearm with intent to go armed; possession of drug paraphernalia (x2), possession ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why Is All The New Building Not Saving Us From A 40-Cent City Property Tax Increase? - And Response

With the number of homes, apartments and condos built downtown, why is a 40 percent property tax increase necessary? Are these new structures on the paying property tax role? I need to know what’s going on downtown and why isn’t that money benefiting the city? Georgia Vaughn * * * The answer is that tax exemptions for these projects have been given out freely and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Degradation Of Nurses

Debbie Moore-Black, is a registered nurse whose blogs regularly appear on the medical news website, KevinMD.com. With the unearthly demands of COVID and historic lack of concern for the nursing populace, she wrote this week on the degradation and the devaluation of the nation’s nursing force. Perhaps we should all listen: * * * TIME WILL TELL IF LESSONS WILL BE LEARNED ... (click for more)

Sports

Game Notes: Tennessee At Florida

Tennessee hits the road for the first time this season with a showdown against SEC East rival Florida in primetime on Saturday night in Gainesville. The Vols are coming off a 56-0 shutout of Tennessee Tech last weekend and will look to carry that momentum into Saturday as they look to spring the upset against the 11th-ranked Gators. BROADCAST INFO Saturday's game will be ... (click for more)

Covenant Women, Men Win Maryville Invitational

The Covenant cross country teams dominated the course at the Maryville Invitational Friday afternoon. The women came in first of five with 22 points in their 6k race, while the men were also first of five in their 8k race with 26 points. The women had three runners in the top five. Claire Mackes continued her stellar performance, coming in first place overall with her ... (click for more)