New information sheds light on the challenges facing the Cocke County Jail, as state records show the ongoing efforts and failures at keeping that building state certified.
In an earlier report, Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes told 10News the jail is packed. Now state records back that up. Letters sent to the jail and from the Tennessee Corrections Institute detail the efforts and shortcomings of the county's two facilities.
The letters are from 2015 to 2017 and detail jail inspections and what the state says needs to be fixed. In September, a second inspection found the annex at maximum capacity and the jail 60 percent over capacity.
On top of overcrowding issues, the jail had 48 new officers. The inspection notes that as a 112 percent turnover in staff from 2014.
A year later, jail data profiles paint a picture of the problems continuing to grow. In July, the jail held 68 while the annex held 96 people - both rated for many fewer inmates.
“The difference now is every community has seen a huge increase in the female population in their jails, and they are also dealing with an opiate as well as methamphetamine and heroin addiction that has become much more prevalent within the past 10 years,” Fontes explained.
According to Fontes, it would cost $30 million to build a new up to date facility.