Rutherford Co. Jail Wiping Away Former Sheriff Arnold's Dark Legacy

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Rutherford County Jail has made many changes in its journey to gaining its certification back. The detention center lost its certification due to dangerous conditions and big money lawsuits.

"One of the reasons we got here was total inattention by the upper management in the sheriff's office," said Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.

Arnold was booked into federal prison and convicted of public corruption.

It seems, while he was illegally profiting from Ecigs, he ignored basic needs inside the jail. The man who replaced him Mike Fitzhugh said that's made things tough.

"When you have bad things from bad management the results are going to be bad," said Sheriff Fitzhugh.

So what bad things? Lt. Brian Elrod said Arnold, for instance, didn't properly classify inmates. 

"That's standard stuff, right? But we didn't have it. Why? No classification system," said Elrod.

That meant inmates in on all manner of crimes, some worse than others, were just thrown together.

Staff had to use dusty old log books to keep track of things. They've since been replaced by computers and a classification system put into place, putting inmates where they belong.

"You imagine we'll see fewer lawsuits? Well, that's always the goal," said Elrod.

Arnold was plagued by lawsuits costing county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, with upgrades in training, security and staffing the jail has been recommended for re-certification.

It's back up to state and federal standards, and the Arnold legacy nearly gone. With all of the changes, it's expected that the jail will be re-certified by June.

The recertification of the jail likely will mean fewer potential lawsuits, and a lower cost to taxpayers for insurance covering the facility.

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