Voters in Claiborne County will determine whether the county should issue bonds for jail expansion in this August 4th election. A Circuit judge, acting in his private capacity as a citizen, is opposing jail expansion saying the county losses money on its inmates, just as I (Tona Monroe) have been saying here in Blount County.
There has been confusion about the role of the Tennessee Correction Institute (TCI) and the TCI Board of Control. The TCI inspects local jails. The TCI Board of Control votes to certify a jail as being in compliance or not in compliance with jail standards. The TCI and its Board of Control can not shut down a jail for not being in compliance with state standards.
The Blount County Purchasing Agent finally issued the RFQ for jail expansion last week, 12 weeks after the commission authorized it. With the state inmates being removed, the only thing the county should look at expanding is programs. If the Blount County Commission pushes for an unnecessary jail expansion, then the citizens of Blount County should be able to weigh in on the issue through a referendum.