Warren County Jail has been recertified by the state and no longer falls under a plan of action from the state.
It’s mission accomplished, says the deputy director of the Tennessee Corrections Institute.
The jail currently meets all 427 standards set down by TCI, according to TCI representative Bob Bass.
“This is a big milestone and the chairman of the board of TCI knows that,” said Bass. “Congratulations on that. I wish that I was there with all of you so I could hand you your certificate.”
The announcement was made via a Zoom conference call to members of the county’s Corrections Partnership Committee. Also in attendance were Sheriff Tommy Myers and Major Jason Walker.
The jail has been under state scrutiny since 2012 due to overcrowding. A County Corrections Partnership Committee was created by the Warren County Commission in February 2015 to start the process of making recommendations to address deficiencies and establish a plan of action regarding short- and long-term jail solutions.
Over the last year, the county’s Corrections Partnership Committee has been embroiled in a power struggle with the county’s Safety Committee regarding which committee oversees the jail budget. In the last couple months, Sheriff Myers stopped reporting to Corrections Partnership and its members unanimously voted in November to go dormant.
Myers expressed his appreciation for the assistance from TCI, Bass, and committee members for their assistance in helping right the wrongs at the jail.
“It’s not just me or my staff. It’s all of us,” said Myers. “As long as all of us work together in the future, Warren County is going to have a great future. My goal is to continue this. In my mind, there are many more items I would like to accomplish and we are working every day to do so. I appreciate everyone. You are still commissioners and I hope you take my phone calls when I call you because I will.”
Some commissioners have rallied against losing the Corrections Partnership Committee, but Bass says the committee “needs to go dormant” and resume activities only if the jail takes a turn for the worse.
“I don’t think Sheriff Myers will let that happen,” Bass added. “He’s a good steward of taxpayer money. He’s a good steward of taking care of his facility. If you overcrowd your jail with inmates, they are the ones who destroy the jail. If you get back into a situation where you are severely overcrowding, you can go back under a plan of action and then we would start back up the CCP. I would be there to help.”
Commissioner Joseph Stotts asked about the possibility of a name change for the committee, but Bass says it’s time to dissolve the committee and move on.
“The jail is healthy now,” said Bass. “The jail is operating the way it should be. The jail’s population is where it should be. You meet all 427 TCI standards. Again, hats off to you. Now, maybe, it’s time these committee members focus on other things and other needs in the county.”
Commissioner Steve Glenn motioned that the committee go dormant until needed, which received a second from Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin.
“I know there are some commissioners who don’t want the committee to go dormant, but it’s really a good thing,” said Bouldin. “We accomplished what we set out to do. Now, we can sit back and wait and hopefully never be needed again.”
The motion was unanimously approval by Commissioners Glenn, Bouldin, Stotts and Carl E. Bouldin. Commissioner Steven Helton was absent.