Sullivan County commission to spend $100,000 on jail master plan

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Sullivan County commissioners will spend thousands of dollars to address overcrowding issues at the jail.

The Sullivan County commission voted unanimously Monday morning to find a consultant to put together a master plan for the jail, and pay them $100,000 to do so.

Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson told us right now the jail is severely overcrowded, so Monday’s vote is a big step toward progress.

“Today is a real big step because they could have not voted for this study, and Sullivan County would have been in a hurting position,” Anderson said.

Sheriff Anderson says the jail is severely overcrowded. It is a problem he says got worse this year, recently housing more than 100 inmates over capacity.

So, addressing that overcrowding issue, what caused it, and how to fix it is all part of the master plan.

“A company will be selected who will come in and meet with staff and determine the needs; they’ll look over our studies we’ve already done,” said Wally Boyd, Chairman of the Sullivan County Jail Ad Hoc Committee.

The consultant will look at things like infrastructure needs, counseling services for inmates and ideas for expansion.

“We’re in a race because we’re already at a crisis in the jail,” Boyd said.

It’s an issue Boyd says he has been working on for about three years now.

And one that Mayor Richard Venable says the commission is dedicated to solve.

“We’re serious about addressing this problem,” said Venable.

Mayor Venable expects to have a consultant in place in three months.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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