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Full-time counselor sought to serve jail
County OKs $50,000 for new position
Joseph Stotts headshot.jpg

Warren County Jail is seeking a full-time counselor, but the particulars behind that hire have yet to be determined.

Jail administrator Jackie Rackley informed members of the county’s Corrections Partnership Committee that Commissioner Joseph Stotts has offered his assistance in the hiring process. 

“We need to talk about that a little bit,” said Stotts. “The last statement Jimmy (Haley) made to me about two months ago was that he didn’t know if it would be a county position or more a contracted position.”

County commissioners approved $50,000 in the jail’s budget for 2019-20 to hire a counselor. However, a job description outlining specifics has yet to be established.  

Stotts says a contracted position could be bid out and offer a cost savings.

“If it is bid out and someone contracted, you may find someone who may do that for under that amount. It depends on if you find someone who’s licensed or non-licensed. If they work within the confines of the jail and you aren’t billing them for their services, they do not have to be a licensed provider. It could take your pay scale down slightly. There could be room for possible savings there.” 

Generations began offering free mental health and substance abuse services at the jail in February. A counselor has been visiting the jail every Friday offering services to inmates selected by jail administration. 

That free service prompted the need for a full-time counselor and Commissioner Steven Helton stated, “Generations is to be commended for what it has done.” 

Stotts offered a mental health screen assessment form for committee members’ consideration. If adopted by the jail, it could be filled out by inmates and the data used by the new counselor in assessing new inmates.

“It’s a pretty standard form,” said Stotts. “It doesn’t have to be completed by clinical staff. It can actually be completed by someone in booking and then referred to the counselor that we have been talking about. I’m definitely recommending that we use this form. It’s the least time-consuming form of its kind.”

In attendance at the meeting was Tennessee Corrections Institute’s Detection Facilities manager Bob Bass who voiced his approval for hiring a counselor and use of the form to collect data that could be used later. 

No determination on if the counselor would be considered a county employee or contract labor was made during the meeting.