Circuit Court Judge John D. McAfee cares about his community. He is doing what he can, as a private citizen, to stop what may be an unnecessary jail expansion in his local community by pointing out that the Claiborne County does not have to house felons sentenced to more than a year.
Compare that to the actions of local judges Tammy Harrington and Mike Gallegos, who are non-voting ex-officio members of the Blount County Corrections Partnership (BCCP), who never said anything about the county not being required to house felons. Additionally, neither mentioned that trial judges have the authority, under state law, to order inmates to be moved to a state facility before the expiration of the normal time frame for removal.
Furthermore, McAfee obtained a letter from legal counsel for the Tennessee Corrections Institute saying that the TCI has no authority to shut down jails or enforce TCI guidelines. This is the point that I (Tona Monroe) made when Bob Bass and Detention Facility Specialist William Robert Kane appeared to try to bully the BCCP into seeking architectural services to expand the jail. Tough talk is about all the TCI employees can do. Why didn’t these TCI employees mention that the county is under no obligation to keep state felons, with a sentence of more than a year, and suggest that the county work with the Tennessee Department of Corrections to have the felons moved to state facilities?
It appears that the jail RFQ resolution, that fails to mention the jail in the be it resolved portion of the resolution, was passed under false pretenses. I am elated that the state is finally going to do its job by taking its felons. This may have stopped an unnecessary tax increase. Additionally, I am happy to learn that a judge cares enough about his community to make the facts known and not indebt future generations to house discretionary state prisoners.