Sheriff Hammond Comments On Future Of The Current Jail
Sheriff Hammond said today that 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. He said the current jail 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," said Sheriff Hammond.
"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." said Sheriff Hammond. "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," he said. "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," said the Sheriff.
Tennessee sheriffs are constitutional officers and are mandated by state law to operate a jail in their respective counties. Sheriff Hammond said "My responsibility is to safely and humanely operate our jail, keeping the prisoners safe and keeping our citizens safe."
Sheriff Hammond was quite clear in stressing that whatever negotiations take place, "the future careers of the staff in the Jail is a non-negotiable."