Disgraced Former Rutherford County Sheriff Seeks Prison Reform From Behind Bars

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 23, 2018

A pardon is not enough. In a letter to President Trump, disgraced former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold wants not only a pardon, he also asks for prison reform.

He says it's a prison reform that he says will save taxpayers millions and, conveniently, would also lead to his release.

Arnold already sent a letter to the White House requesting clemency. NewsChannel 5's Nick Beres spoke to him by phone from the so-called "Club Fed" - the Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama. 

He says he shouldn't be locked up.

"This is all politics. I'm a political prisoner," said Arnold.

He did plead guilty last year to wire fraud and extortion linked to the illegal sale of electronic cigarettes in the Rutherford County Jail.

But he insists he did nothing wrong, that he never meant to break the law and that his critics were just upset he was re-elected in 2014.  

"You saw it being political in the fact they couldn't beat me in election-wise so they have to take me out," said Arnold.

He feels he deserves a pardon, but legal expert Jim Todd says the chances are slim.

"I think it's an extreme longshot."

So, Arnold's now also submitted a summary of a plan for prison reform. Arnold sent NewsChannel 5 a copy and it reads: "

We are asking President Trump for an executive order of  "immediate compassionate release or home confinement" for aging, first-time, non-violent, white collar federal inmates. This is an economic, compassionate, common sense approach to prison reform."

Arnold claims it would save taxpayers the costs of incarceration. And, of course, it would also benefit Arnold.

it's not a pardon, but, "It would get him out of prison early, but it doesn't necessarily restore his civil rights or expunge your record," said Todd.

Arnold is about half way through serving a four year sentence. He has yet to hear back from anyone at the White House. Arnold says whenever it is that he gets out of prison he plans to return to middle Tennessee.
  Life back home for him has already changed.

He's no longer sheriff and he and his wife recently finalized a divorce.