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.”

 

 

 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Water Distribution Site Locations Set For Sunday

Change In Water Distribution Site Locations Made To Accommodate Neighborhoods With Greater Need


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BEARDEN, WENDY LEE 4811 HAL DR CHATTANOOGA, 37416 Age at Arrest: 44 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT UNDER $1,000 ---- ... (click for more)

The City of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Fire and Police Departments continue to provide services, alongside our county and regional partners and Tennessee American Water, to those without water. ... (click for more)

As some neighborhoods in Chattanooga’s lower elevations continue to regain adequate water pressure, the Chattanooga Police Department and the Youth & Family Development Centers will be reallocating ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BEARDEN, WENDY LEE 4811 HAL DR CHATTANOOGA, 37416 Age at Arrest: 44 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT UNDER $1,000 ---- BRADFORD, JOSHUA LEE 8741 CRESTBROOK CIRCLE CHATTANOOGA, 37421 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FUGITIVE (ARREST FOR CRIME IN DADE CO, GA) ---- BURTON, ... (click for more)

Water Distribution Site Locations Set For Sunday

The City of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Fire and Police Departments continue to provide services, alongside our county and regional partners and Tennessee American Water, to those without water. Additionally, partners at Tri-State Mutual Aid Association continue to provide fire suppression for Hamilton County until water is returned to those residences. While pressure maps ... (click for more)

Opinion

We Remember Sept. 11th

Our nation was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001 and our world changed. Muslim terrorists called al-Qaeda, with training camps all around the world were responsible for the death of the more than 3,000 victims. This is an enemy unlike any we have ever faced. There are multiple countries, multiple fronts and multiple threats. This enemy is committed to the absolute destruction of the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Country Music’s Top 98

It was in the late ‘80s, not long before Auburn and Tennessee would play early in the year to set the early pace in the annual SEC race. I needed Auburn football coach Pat Dye to help me understand the early-season strategy of what the loser of the game between Tennessee and Auburn would need to do to stay viable in the home stretch of SEC play that year; it affected bowl invitations ... (click for more)

Sports

UT Manhandles Mocs 45-0

The Chattanooga Mocs made the short trip up I-75 falling 45-0 at Tennessee. The Vols took advantage of early struggles to put the game away early. A big return on the opening kickoff set Tennessee up with a short field. It took six plays to go 41 yards with the initial tally coming on a 13-yard Ty Chandler run. The next score came less than two minutes later with Brandon Johnson ... (click for more)

UTC's Gerdes Leads Mocs In Chattanooga Collegiate Clay Court Championships

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Niklas Gerdes led the Mocs men’s tennis team on the second day of the Chattanooga Collegiate Clay Court Championships at Manker Patten. The Geestland, Germany, native advanced to the finals of the doubles draw and the singles semifinals with wins today. Gerdes started the morning session with a 6-0 doubles win with sophomore Tomas ... (click for more)