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Board Votes To Decertify Rutherford County Jail

Posted at 10:55 AM, Dec 07, 2016

The Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control voted to decertify the Rutherford County Jail.

The unanimous vote was held Wednesday morning in Nashville. 

NewsChannel 5 had reported recent failed inspections, prompting the state inspector to recommend decertifying the jail.

"Earlier this year, the jail had failed an initial inspection," Kevin Walters of the Department of Commerce and Insurance explained. "They were given an opportunity for a re-inspection; they failed that as well."

Consequently, inmates could start suing the jail more easily, which could lead to a federal audit of the facility. 

Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said that the county has begun addressing the staffing issues at the jail and that some of the problems weren't made easier due to the jail-cigs scandal that landed Sheriff Robert Arnold behind bars.

"Anytime there is a lack of leadership at the top, that likely could have some impact on what's happening down at the lower levels of supervision and leadership," Burgess said, adding that they are planning on having no issues during the next inspection and that jail employees will continue to effectively serve their county. "They're doing the very best they can for the right reasons, and I think they're giving it every bit of energy that they possibly can to do a good job." 

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office's Public information officer, Lisa Marchesoni, released the following statement.

We appreciate the Tennessee Corrections Institute’s desire to insure the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center is operating in a safe and efficient manner.

The primary concern for decertification from TCI was directly related to a lack of personnel in the Booking Division at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center.

During the past six months, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office has worked with Mayor Ernest Burgess and the County Commission to add more detention officers to the Adult Detention Center. The Commission approved 12 more detention officers during this fiscal year.

The County Commission voted in November to assign four of the 12 new detention officers to the Booking Division to address the concerns of TCI. Those four new booking deputies are in the process of being selected.