By Becky Campbell
Johnson City Press
Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece was between a rock and a hard place last year.
The agency that inspects correction facilities was on the verge of decertifying the Johnson County Jail, and decertification would mean the jail would have to close.
To alleviate the lockup’s overcrowding problem, Reece shipped 14 state inmates to other facilities. Those inmates represented $518 per day — $37 per inmate — from the state, which contracts with county jails to house state inmates to reduce the state prison population.
Because of Reece’s move, the situation didn’t go as far as decertification. But while the jail population is OK right now, Reece said he’s under a directive from the Tennessee Corrections Institute — the certifying agency — to create a plan of action to address the issue for the future.
“We have to have a plan of action on the table when they come back next year,” Reece said. “I’ve explained to the County Commission we have to have a plan of action to fix this.”
Reece said the county’s law enforcement committee will meet after the holidays to discuss what steps to take, whether it be to discontinue the contract to house state inmates or add on to the current jail.
“In April 2015, TCI came in and inspected us and told me then we were overcrowded and we had to do something to relieve it,” Reece said. “They gave us a certain length of time. … I went to the county mayor and told him what I needed to do.”
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.