Commissioners express doubts on future Silverdale jail expansion
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Hamilton County Commissioners go an update on the work at the Silverdale Detention Center and a debate on the costs.
Sheriff’s officials say the current phase of jail improvements should be complete in a month or two.
But there will be more budget requests in the future.
For example, they will need to buy hundreds of cameras to improve monitoring of the prisoners.
And a Sheriff’s official said they will need to add more beds in the future.
The commissioners were skeptical of an un-ending drain of county funds going to the Detention Center.
Commissioner Mackey said they’d rather be spending the money on building new schools, and several other commissioners agreed.
Commissioner Beck, who worked in the prison system himself, went even further.
He doesn’t like the idea of expanding beds and committing taxpayers to paying for more people “who do not behave.”
He says the jail shouldn’t be of hotel for criminals, but “It should be a hotel-hell.”
The Sheriff’s representative said the county has spent about $40 million so far on Silverdale improvements.
The estimate to build a new jail was around $250 million.