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Friday, July 06, 2018

Corrections Partnership meet
Members of the Cocke County Corrections Partnership meeting Thursday evening heard from a jail inspector who told them the county faces liability if it does not address it's jail situation. "These are not new problems. I can't tell you how often the sheriff has told you these same things. I can't tell you how often my reports have said the same thing," said Robert Kane of the Tennessee Corrections Institute. "There are major problems, you have pressing problems. The building that the sheriff operates is the county commission's responsibility. What are you going to do to fix your problems?" Although there had been a suggestion that the committee be disbanded, Kane argued against such a move. He did suggest removal of committee members "who do not want to move forward." Sheriff Armando Fontes had told the committee that he must increase the salary of corrections officers, in an effort to curtail turnover and to fill the four current vacant positions. He also said he is trying to prevent contraband from coming into the jail through the third floor windows, wants to correct deficient lighting and is concerned about the leaking roof on the annex jail, all in addition to the jail overcrowding. With regard to the overcrowding, Fontes said self-contained POD cells could be placed outside of the jail annex for additional housing and to be used as inmate solitary confinement. Commissioner Terry Dawson suggested there may be a vacant warehouse in the community that could serve to house the PODS. Mayor Crystal Ottinger said there may be a vacancy in the CF Group warehouse on the West Highway 25/70 corridor. The group agreed to contact the Cocke County Partnership regarding available sites. Kane said no government in Tennessee is using such PODS but they may be feasible. Committee member Calvin Ball again raised the issue of ankle bracelets as an alternative to incarceration, but Chief Deputy Derrick Woods said every inmate who was given the option of wearing the GPS tracking device, violated the restrictions. Committee Chair Robert Green suggested the county obtain quotes on a new roof for the annex jail. Members were told a new roof could cost $200,000 to $300,000. In response, CLB Chair Clay Blazer questioned the expenditure of that money if the building will not be used as a jail long-term "That will cost us alot of money and it won't get us certification," he argued. The committee then went on record supporting the continuance of the corrections committee, approved the upgrading of lighting with the use of a state grant and matching money from the Litigation Fund, they agreed to a cost analysis of corrections officers salary in surrounding communities, and they approved efforts to obtain the estimated cost of a new roof on the jail.

Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

  • House approves voucher bill
  • Newport City Council special meeting
  • Newport Utilities
  • Drug take-back

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

  • Six injured in crash
  • Cocke Finance Committee
  • Cocke County grand jury
  • Legislative action

    Monday, April 22, 2019

  • Cocke County flooding
  • Tennessee jobs
  • NFL draft coming to Nashville
  • Earth Day
  • Sturgein release

    Saturday, April 20, 2019

  • Turner arrest
  • Southerland report
  • Unemployment in Tennessee
  • Mueller report

    Friday, April 19, 2019

  • TDOT projects
  • Cocke County Partnership
  • Voucher plan may be stalled

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