Putnam County Jail At Risk Of Losing Certification
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - A mid-state jail is at risk of losing its certification if things aren't cleaned up in 60 days.
It's not the first time the Putnam County jail has failed a state inspection and the rush to make improvements is costing taxpayers.
Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews said running the nearly 19-year-old facility is a never ending routine. What has also become routine: the results of the Putnam County jail inspection from the Tennessee Corrections Institute.
"I would say that we failed because they say they are going to re-inspect us in 60 days. I assume that's their procedure," said Andrews.
Sheriff Andrews said the county simply isn't giving him enough money. He said things that would appear to be a small problem can quickly become a big problem when it comes to certification. If the jail loses its certification it can no longer house state prisoners and they will lose nearly $700,000.
When the inspectors came, the Sheriff said the violations kept racking up: Leaking sinks, loose concrete in the inmate area, clogged toilets, even a freezer with built up ice. Other violations have been fixed in the last two weeks. A hole in the ceiling was repaired earlier Thursday morning along with a sink in the same kitchen.
Other problems included the jail not administering enough fire drills and not updating its jail manual.
"The worse a problem gets, the more it costs to fix it. Preventative maintenance saves a lot of money," said the Sheriff.
Andrews said the jail is no longer overcrowded but they still need more room to house inmates.
"We don't need a new jail like we have today; we don't need another Taj Mahal. We need a jail annex which is a metal building with concrete walls and a few standards set by TCI, it would be adequate," he explained.
The sheriff said he hopes this year he can finally close the door on the jail failing certification.