Silverdale Corrections Facility To Become New County Jail
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – It would cost an estimated 100,000,000 dollars to replace the Hamilton County jail, and commissioners are reluctant to discuss that option.
At a news conference this morning, Sheriff Jim Hammond announced plans to shut down the obsolete jail.
The Hamilton County jail is over 40 years old, and a burden on the criminal justice system and the tax payers. Now, with an action from the Hamilton County commission, Silverdale Corrections Facility is the new county jail.
This decision kick starts part of a plan to retire from the downtown jail.
Sheriff Hammond said, “I think the bottom line for me is we know we’ve got to build some sort of new facility. Most likely we will do that out there, and try to move away from this building over the next few years… have it torn down, the county can decide what they want to do with it at their pleasure. We know we can’t rehab it, so we need to just abandon it at the earliest possible time.”
Silverdale has become the most likely answer to that problem. He says it will no longer be a workhouse.
Hammond added, “We also had 400 inmates out there that are supposed to be in my jail, but I have no room for them because of the overcrowding issues and the inherit problems we had.”
Although it is operated by Core Civic, a private company, Silverdale is now controlled by the sheriff’s department. And, to make that plan work, Silverdale will need 128 additional beds.
As for saving taxpayer money, the sheriff says there are ways to cut the $87,000 a day it costs to run the jail. There are currently up to 1700 inmates between the two facilities on a given day.
“We can’t simply do it by, ah, saying we’ll build another building without reducing the numbers. How do we reduce the numbers? That’s creative deferment, if you will, for programs that can get answered. First of all, a critical need, what are going to do with our metal health? We’ve go far too many mental health inmates locked up in our facility,” expressed Sheriff Hammond.
Sheriff Hammond says his department is working on partnerships with other agencies to get those people into other programs. This effort could save up to half a million dollars a year.