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Press Release

HCSO Announces the Closure of the Historic Hamilton County Jail


Hamilton County, TN – On Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 6:00 AM, the end of an era will take place with the official closing of the historic Hamilton County Jail.

The downtown jail, officially named the Hamilton County Justice Building, was completed in 1976 and has been in constant correctional use for almost half a century. While discussions began in the early 1970’s for the need for a new jail, the funding wasn’t appropriated until its approval in 1972 by Judge Chester Frost. The building was completed during the administration of Sheriff Frank Newell.

“Tuesday Morning will be a historic day for Hamilton County as we close the downtown jail and move all our correctional operations to the Silverdale Detention Center,” stated Sheriff Jim Hammond. “While the Hamilton County Jail has served the needs of this community for many years, it is important to recognize progress moves on. For me, this event is rather personal as I worked for many years as Chief Deputy in this building and now, 45 years later, I will be humbled to be the Sheriff who permanently closes her doors,” he further noted.

With the announcement last year that CoreCivic would be ending their contract for management and oversight of the Silverdale Detention Center, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office officially assumed control of Silverdale on December 30, 2020. Due to the age of the existing Hamilton County Jail and the added responsibility of the Silverdale Detention Center, it became apparent from an operational and financial management perspective to combine both facilities and close the aged downtown jail. Furthermore, by combining both facilities, it ensures the HCSO Corrections Division will be able to continue an efficient continuity of services.

While corrections based operations will cease at the Hamilton County Justice Building, several civilian based offices and the Corrections Training Division will remain on the lower floors of the jail until their offices can also be relocated. Once the closure occurs on Tuesday, floors 1 – 6 will be shuttered.

Beginning Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 6:00 am, arrestees from all local law enforcement agencies (including state, & federal), will be booked at the Silverdale Detention Center.

“With the closing of the downtown jail, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office begins a new chapter in our more than 200 years of history providing law enforcement and corrections services in Hamilton County. Since the transition, we have made many key infrastructure improvements and technological advancements to the existing Silverdale Detention Center. Combined with the current Phase One Expansion Project and the future modular expansions, we are focused on the creation of an efficient, state-of-the-art facility capable of serving the law enforcement and correctional needs of our community,” state Chief Deputy Austin Garrett.

Members of the media are welcome and encouraged to cover the event and document the last inmate being transferred from the Hamilton County Jail. During this unique and historical opportunity, reporters will be able to video the inmate making their way through the transition and transport process, leaving the sally port via transport shuttle, and then take a brief tour of the empty, shuttered floors of the jail. Reporters who would like to participate in this opportunity are asked to make a reservation with HCSO Public Relations Division via email to media@hcsheriff.gov for planning purposes. Media should gather in the lobby of the Hamilton County Jail located at 601 Walnut Street at 5:45 AM.

©2021 Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: (423) 209-7000