Bradley County Jail Receives Certification After Inspections From State And Federal Governments

Friday, September 11, 2020
Pictured, left to right, are Captain Jerry Johnson, TCI Detention Facilities Specialist William Kane and Sheriff Steve Lawson
Pictured, left to right, are Captain Jerry Johnson, TCI Detention Facilities Specialist William Kane and Sheriff Steve Lawson

Following an unannounced inspection by the Tennessee Corrections Institute and an inspection by the United States Marshall Service, the Bradley County Jail has received positive results with zero deficiencies found from both inspecting agencies, including an official certification from the TCI Board of Control.

On the state government level, the Tennessee Corrections Institute’s jail inspection was based on the following categories: sanitation, hygiene, medical services, food services, inmate programs and activities, mail and visitation, supervision of inmates, security, maintenance, admission, records and release, physical plant, administration and management, personnel, discipline and classification.

The state’s inspection was conducted on Sept. 1, with no deficiencies found. The inspection results were presented to the TCI Board of Control on Sept. 9, resulting in the Bradley County Jail receiving its official certification.

“The Tennessee Corrections Institute recently inspected the [Bradley County Jail],” says William Wall, TCI executive director, in a letter to Sheriff Steve Lawson. “The inspection revealed this facility meets all applicable minimum standards . . . You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization.”

“The Sheriff, Captain, Sr. Lieutenant and staff were very professional during the inspection process and are to be commended on operating a clean facility,” says William Kane, TCI Operations & Programs director in the comments on his inspection report. “All of the inmate housing areas, day rooms and shower areas were very clean at the time of the inspection.”

On the federal government level, the United States Marshall Service also conducted an inspection, due to the federal inmates housed at the Bradley County Jail. The federal government’s inspection was conducted on Aug. 27 with no deficiencies found.

Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis makes the following comment, “The results of these inspections are particularly important, because they show the major areas of improvement and growth in our county’s jail: the first, overcrowding; the second, understaffing. Over the past two years, Sheriff Lawson and his administration have successfully remedied the overcrowding issue and have worked hard to increase the correctional staffing numbers. This is great news for Bradley County to be certified and with no deficiencies.”

Erica Davis, Bradley County commissioner of the 6th District and Law Enforcement Committee chairwoman, said, “Sheriff Lawson inherited a jail that brought with it a number of challenges, along with a history of below standard TCI findings. Since taking office, Sheriff Lawson, along with his command staff, have made it their goal to ‘get better every day.’ This most recent TCI inspection is proof that their leadership is making a difference at the Bradley County Justice Center. I congratulate Sheriff Lawson and his team, and look forward to continuing to serve alongside them.”

“I am very pleased to see our jail receive the results that it did from the TCI and USMS, especially the certification from the state’s Board of Control,” said Sheriff Lawson. “I want to recognize and sincerely thank my corrections staff for their hard work in achieving this great milestone. Over the past two years, a great majority of my focus and energy as sheriff has been directed towards improving the condition and functionality of our jail little by little, day by day. Our jail has received a lot of negative attention lately, with several false claims regarding our treatment of inmates and how we have handled the COVID-19 pandemic. These baseless claims have continued, despite the many times that myself and my press team have thoroughly explained the numerous illness prevention procedures we have followed since March. As far as I’m concerned, the findings of the TCI and USMS are the final word in that conversation.”

Sheriff Lawson goes on to say, “During my two years in office, all of Bradley County’s commissioners and Mayor Davis have worked with me to provide better compensation for our corrections officers and allow for more employment opportunities in our jail — this not only has reduced our staff deficiencies in the jail, but has allowed us to become better everyday. This helpful cooperation has played a very large role in getting us to where we are today. I look forward to continuing to serve Bradley County to the very best of my ability.”

The Bradley County Jail’s certification was received from the TCI Board of Control on Sept. 11 following their review and approval.


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