Commissioner Tona Monroe calls for immediate meeting of Blount County Corrections Partnership to discuss removing discretionary inmates after AG’s opinion on state sentenced felons.

The Tennessee Attorney General (AG) has now opined that jails aren’t required to house state felons sentenced to more than one year of continuous confinement.  It is no longer just my (Tona Monroe) interpretation, as the local paper reported.  It’s also the interpretation of the AG.

For Immediate Release: Commissioner Tona Monroe requests immediate meeting of Blount County Corrections Partnership to discuss removing discretionary inmates after AG’s opinion on state sentenced felons.

Contact Tona Monroe
(865) 856-0814
tona@breezeair.net

June 21, 2016

Commissioner Monroe issued the following statement on Tennessee AG opinion 16-21.

The sheriff, mayor and some commissioners have been pushing to spend what could be tens of millions of Blount County taxpayer dollars on jail expansion because the current facility is “overcrowded”. Commissioner Tona Monroe has repeatedly pointed out that the facility is only “overcrowded” because the sheriff insists on keeping a large number of federal inmates that the county is under no legal obligation to take. In addition, the sheriff is housing a large number of state prisoners. It has been shown that both arrangements are a loss to the taxpayers of Blount County. Now a new opinion by the Tennessee Attorney General makes it clear that the county is not obligated to house the state prisoners either.

This eliminates any need to spend huge amounts of money to expand the Blount County Adult Detention Facility (jail). Based on the most recent month’s jail population statistics, if the federal and state prisoners were removed, the Blount County jail would be well under capacity.

Commissioner Tona Monroe is calling for an immediate meeting of the Blount County Corrections Partnership to discuss removing the discretionary state and federal inmates from the jail, in order to save tens of millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

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Previous jail summary reports are available here: https://www.tn.gov/correction/article/tdoc-jail-summary-reports

15 thoughts on “Commissioner Tona Monroe calls for immediate meeting of Blount County Corrections Partnership to discuss removing discretionary inmates after AG’s opinion on state sentenced felons.

  1. Ok Mayor, Sherriff and commissioners who always side with you, the jig is up. We are not going to be taxed again so you can build another jail. We didn’t mind so the deputies could make a decent wage, but the well is dry. Federal inmates have to go.

    • I’m 81, a retired Korea & Viet Nam (Bronze Star) vet. I’m perpetually dismayed at the attitude/actions of our State/local governments, despite the fact that I voted for them. This is particularly true while observing the very frustrating efforts our County Commissioners experience.
      It seems to me that our State & local governments are trying to emulate the federal gov’t, spend everything they can and leave the bill to the rest of us!
      Why don’t you get real!? We need MANY MORE like Tona Monroe.

  2. Watching Mitchell and Berrong continually operate in a self-serving manner while the majority of Moon’s County Commission sit on their hands is like watching an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard. Compounding the problem, are the lapdogs on the commission that cannot think for themselves and simply do as they are told. I believe one is even a health care provider that saddens me as he should know better and care about people.

    One has to wonder what Mitchell has on the sheriff to make him afraid to do his job properly. Let us, the taxpayers, stop this nonsense and vote these bums out . . AND continue to identify to the proper Republicans of TENNESSEE such as Beth Harwell and Bill Haslam, the incompetence run rampant in Blount County.

    The ONLY way you can get the attention of poor managers is ALWAYS elevate the issue to those possessing the ability to address the issues without constantly seeking personal gain, such as we have in the leadership of Blount County.

  3. This was exactly what I had shared with the Commissioners on 4/7/16. There are 568 inmates in a facility made to house 350. Below is a breakdown of those inmates:

    TN Dept of Corrections: 147
    FEDERAL: 68
    Sentenced Felon: 100
    SENTENCED MISDEMEANOR: 61
    PRETRIAL FELON : 123
    PRETRIAL MISDEMEANOR: 69

    Looking at these numbers and doing some simple math will show what is causing the overcrowding.

    IF we eliminate the TN Dept. of Corrections (147) and the Federal (68) inmates, there will be no crowding. These inmates are a drain on our local economy. Although, Blount County is reimbursed to facilitate them, it is not enough to cover the costs completely.

    I agree that we need to start living within our means. More debt is not the answer!

  4. Get rid of inmates not needed! It’s simple as can be, we don’t have a problem some people want us to believe we do! My word you’d think money grows on tree’s in Blount County!

  5. I have written Mayor Mitchell and Commissioner Richard Carver about my opposition to enlarging the jail to a regional prison. When I was chief Clerk at the sheriff office in 1989 jail capacity was 71 with BC population 95.000. Now the jail capacity is 350 beds with 126.000 population and the crime rate is about the same. I asked my commissioner (Carver) what the cost was to taxpayers to house a prisoner and he drew a blank “I don’t Know” . -The State was paying $35.00 a day to house their inmates in 1989 and now it is only $37.50. The Feds pay $75.00 daily and so should the state. Better yet get rid of all of them and we have no overcrowding. Homer White 1618 Leconte Dr MT 983-9400

    • A blank stare is typical from Carver. He would “believe” that the county is making money on federal inmates because someone told him so. Carver prohibited me from adding the subject of federal inmates to the Blount County Corrections Partnership agenda for its April meeting.

  6. Carver shouldn’t be in charge of anything let alone the agenda for the BCCP. He isn’t smart enough to decide anything on his own, but will rely on the machine to tell him what to do. Typical stare is typical with Carver. There must be a lot of money riding on this for the machine to push it as hard as they do. The $90K that was originally spent on a study that Boss Hogg (Mitchell) didn’t like should have been taken out of his salary. The very good recommendations just didn’t fit into their pre planned agenda. There is money apparently flowing concerning all this. Of course, there is absolutely no need for a bigger prison and or jail. Get rid of the federal inmates and the department of corrections prisoners and the created perceived jail problem is solved. The corruption in Blount County is off the charts. Someone needs to really expose all the reasons behind why Boss Hogg, Moon, the hand sitting Commission members, and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane are pushing this so hard.

  7. The non-required prisoners need to be returned to the proper Federal and state facilities. If the county wants to continue to hold these prisoners, the Federal gov’t and the state needs to pay for the expansion and the guards, kitchen and supports personnel need to be supplied by the Feds and the state. This should be a separate “wing” that is not under the control of local officials since they are not their prisoners. If this is not acceptable, against county rules, not workable, etc, refer back to the first sentence.

  8. The front page article in the Daily Times report that the State will start removing state inmates from the Blount County jail. Thank you Tona Monroe for helping to save county taxpayers from another large tax increase.

    • Thanks tax payer. Let’s hope the sheriff doesn’t respond by bringing in more federal inmates. He will have more floor space soon, but not bed space because he has filled the empty ones with federal inmates.

  9. I would hope the weak county commission will say no to the Blount County jail becoming a federal prison. We need a new sheriff, mayor and new commissioners.

  10. Taxpayer…..and I would hope to win the lottery or hope to own my own private island or hope for Washington to work for us!! It ain’t gonna happen – not until the uneducated (only because they choose to be) Blount County voter wises up and cleans out the Courthouse.

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