Judge Cracks Down On Drug, Alcohol Smuggling In Jail
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A judge is cracking down on the smuggling of illegal drugs and alcohol inside a local jail. That means his sentences will no longer include the options of work detail or work release.
The judge said he thinks inmates working outside the jail are responsible for the drugs and alcohol entering the jail. A lot of people understand where General Sessions Judge Jere Ledsinger is coming from, but they have some reservations.
Some said his decision could overcrowd the jail and cost the county a lot of money. Coffee County estimates the free labor saves the county nearly $1.5 million every year.
The inmates like the work because they get credit toward an early release, but Ledsinger is no longer considering the option as punishment in his courtroom.
"We had a fellow last week that testified there in that chair to my left, the witness chair, that he had obtained drugs while he was in jail," said Ledsinger.
The judge said inmates are taking advantage of the work detail and smuggling drugs and alcohol into the jail.
Sheriff Steve Graves is worried that will lead to overcrowding in the jail.
"It will bring more inmates into the jail because we do give credit for people that are on work detail, but we'll respect the judge's order and we'll follow it," said Graves.
A lot of Judge Ledsinger's message targets the people supervising the work detail program. One inmate said punish them and not him.
"Because one screwed it up doesn't mean everybody should suffer for it," said the inmate.
The judge is also eliminating work release as a punishment option as well. Under work release you can serve your sentence but still keep your job. No work release would mean people would lose their jobs.
Ledsinger is one of three judges in Coffee County. The other two have not issued the same order.