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State de-certifies Cannon County jail
Gary Prater

The state has de-certified the jail in Cannon County, according to Warren County Commissioner Gary Prater.

Prater was appointed to the Tennessee Department of Correction’s Board of Control. While the Tennessee Corrections Institute establishes minimum standards for adult local jails, lock-ups, workhouses and detention facilities in the state, its Board of Control reviews inspections and re-inspections of those facilities to determine if those minimal standards have been met.

The commissioner attended his first meeting in December. During a county Safety Committee meeting held Monday, he expressed shock at the state of some jails. 

“We had 33 counties come before us,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how much better off we are than these 33 counties. Some of these counties had as many of 800 inmates. Some of them have brand new jails sitting there but don’t have the manpower to get in them or the money to. They listened to the architect tell them that if they build the jail that they would need 20-something less staff to man it, which turned out to be not so.”

All the jails were given an extension on recertification, except Cannon County. 

“Woodbury did not have a representative there,” said Prater. “It was decertified. It was the only jail in the whole state that we took their certification away. It is pretty much sitting there running itself.”

County Executive Jimmy Haley stated, “They don’t have any money.”

Prater agreed.

“The entire county is broke,” he said. “They can’t even do a capital outlay note to buy anything. It’s down to the point now where they have one sanitation truck and they’re making two to three loads a day from Woodbury to Southern Central out there with their garbage. They have a transfer station by their jail, but they’ve even shut it down now. It’s pretty devastating down there.” 

The Board of Control also includes Sheriff Jack Stockton from Roane County, Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Tony C. Parker, Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy, Governor’s Office, Constituent Services and Community Relations director Don Johnson, Roane State Director of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Lewis, and Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh. 

December’s meeting of the Board of Control was held in Nashville.