Committee proposes “master plan” to pave the way for Sullivan County jail expansion

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A Sullivan County committee tasked with addressing jail overcrowding now has a plan of action.

It is no secret the Sullivan County jail is severely overcrowded. The sheriff’s office says they have enough room for 619 inmates. Today, they’re housing 779 inmates.

But a jail study committee is now taking steps to help fix the problem.

“To approach the county commission to fund a master plan with a company that specializes in planning campuses for jail expansions and new jails,” said Wallace Boyd, Chairman of the jail study committee.

The plan will serve as the architectural overview and explain what to do to address overcrowding at the jail.

“We want to expand it and also utilize our current facility to the greatest extent possible,” Boyd said. “It will be showing what we will have to build to meet this problem and solve this problem.”

The problem is now directly impacting “weekend inmates”.

“It’s really getting worse now than it’s ever been,” said SCSO Major Joseph Strickler. “We are so overcrowded at this time that we’ve not been able to accept the offenders to come in to serve their sentence.”

The jail committee will ask the county commission for tens of thousands of dollars to fund the master plan.

“It shows that we have decided that there is no solution except to build a new facility. And the agreement of that is manifested by this motion, to take the first step which is an important step, it’s a huge step to fund a plan to utilize the land in the most efficient way,” Boyd said.

Paving the way, Boyd says, for expansion, with hopes to accommodate several hundred more inmates.

Boyd says the committee plans to present their recommendation to the Sullivan County commission in November.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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