|Loudon County Jail regains certification
Tennessee Corrections Institute has granted Loudon County Jail recertification after the facility went a year without the designation.
The decision was made Sept. 6 when Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider and Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw went before the TCI board, the first meeting for county officials since the decertification ruling in June 2016.
“First of all, just keeping our jail certified is a matter of doing things the right way, and so it also takes some legal liabilities out as far as lawsuits go,” Bradshaw said. “Just keep the ball moving forward, get progress moving to me is the important thing, getting this thing fixed and putting it behind us again. This has been going on, I guess, for about five years now.”
Guider said the board appeared pleased with the county’s progress and would likely keep the certification as long as continued progress was made on jail expansion.
“The decertification came from a lack of action; we were very stagnant,” Bradshaw said. “We had talked a lot about it but didn’t see any real action, and so now we’ve got this ready to go, we’ve got a hard number on (Michael Brady Inc.) with getting plans fine-tuned. They appreciated that and recognized that and that allowed them to give us our certification back.”
MBI representatives are working with Loudon County to get designs perfected. MBI representative Jay Henderlight said last month the plan is to complete designs by the middle of December and submit them to the state fire marshal’s office. Once submitted, review could take 4-6 weeks.
Loudon County Commission in March approved up to $15 million for a jail expansion on the current Justice Center property.
“Of course, it all depends on how the bidding process comes in, how low some of the bids are and if that’s going to allow additional funds to go toward renovating the old part of the jail so that we can house more female inmates,” Guider said.
The last jail inspection from TCI was June 15, Cpl. Angi Martin, administrative assistant to Capt. Jake Keener, said, noting officials have a 60-day window after the visit to correct any deficiencies.
TCI has the ability to check on jails at any moment, even unannounced, Guider said.
“I want to commend the jail staff for getting the jail in condition for compliance, everything except for the overcrowding, and, secondly, I think it will help the county as far as liability is concerned to where if we do get sued for any particular deficiencies then TCI will back us, support us in that effort,” Guider said.
Loudon County Jail was holding 125 inmates as of Thursday, which Martin said is a lower count than recent days.
“It’s a constant work in progress,” Martin said. “... Of course, it never gets down to 91, which is what we’re bedded for. As far as any other deficiencies that we have had on an original inspection, we had always corrected by the time they had to come back for a re-inspection. ... The only deficiency that we could not fix is overcrowding, which is why we ended up getting decertified. Throughout the year we continue to work on those issues to make sure that we do not fall back into a deficiency.”