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Fence Going Up Around South Nashville Jail

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 16, 2016

Nearly 500 high-security inmates have been set to move from downtown to South Nashville in the next month.

It's part of a three-year temporary re-location while the Criminal Justice Center is rebuilt. But not everybody is onboard with the plan, especially after two inmates tried to make a run for it in South Nashville Saturday. 

Cristian Duran plays and practices soccer at Ezell Park.

"This is kind of like a family place you come here to see your son play or your dad," he said.

He knows it's right next to a jail, which he says was strange enough.

But with the plan to move high security inmates there he says he's especially uneasy.

"I never thought they would move the more dangerous people over here," he said.

But Sheriff Daron Hall says he refuses to move any murderers or rapists until a new project is complete.

"It's about 1.68 miles of fencing so it's a lot going in and out here to make sure we can secure the property," Hall said, showing NewsChannel 5 reporter Rebecca Schleicher the proposed fence line.

He said a $1-million perimeter fence probably should've happened long ago. The area is growing and the facility backs right up into Ezell Park.

"This road here is the access into the park on the weekends and so you'll have public on the greenways, you'll have public on this roadway, but we need to separate the correctional facility from what they're trying to do," Hall said. 

Crews sprang into action Thursday, just days after two inmates got off the bus transporting them from downtown and made a run for it. Saturday they broke free fro their handcuffs and made it past the tree line. One of them jumped 40 feet into a rocky bluff before he was caught.

"Had the individual ran to their left just a little bit they would have run into a park where there was 300-400 people," Hall said.

A search there would've shut any activities down, probably for hours. Not to mention putting families in danger.

And while a fence may not solve everything, it's a step that has at least one soccer player a little more at ease.

"It could stop it (an escape), it could possibly," Duran said.

After the downtown renovations are complete, 1,000 higher security inmates will move back to the CJC. But almost 3,000 low- and middle-security inmates will remain down south.