An East Tennessee jail has once again lost its bid to be recertified by the state.
The Hamblen County jail hasn't met Tennessee codes since 2010, according to the county mayor Bill Brittain.
Both he and Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnigan say overcrowding is to blame.
"We are certified to have 255 [inmates]," Jarnigan said. "Over the weekend, Saturday we had 362," he said.
Jarnigan says drugs are to blame. Over the last six years, the county's made over 800 drug arrests.
"So many people are taking pain pills for pleasure," he said. "That's wrong, that's bad."
Jarnigan said prescription pill abuse has kept the jail constantly busy and as a result, decertified. He said the predicament leaves the jail susceptible to more lawsuits.
"They are harder to defend because we are not meeting minimum standards," Jarnigan said.
He added the state could even conceivably come to Hamblen County and begin to take away inmates. However, that is not the only problem the community is facing.
Brittain said overcrowding once even delayed a Morristown police drug sting.
"They had over one-hundred indictments," he said. "Well, they had to break the round up into two groupings over a three month period because our system, the jail included, could not handle those numbers."
But, this problem impacts more than just Hamblen County. Both Brittain and Jarnigan say other communities are dealing with the same problem.
"When we go to Nashville and meet with the other sheriffs, the joke is about the jails," he said. "It could be the best job you could have as sheriff, if you did not have to contend with the jails."
Roane County is dealing with a similar problem. Monroe County is even trying to build a new jail for a permanent fix.
Hamblen County recently spent $100,000 to improve parts of the jail. It has also formed a committee to look for solution. However, Jarnigan says building a new jail wouldn't be the best option.
He said a new jail would fill up just as quickly with the "borderline cases" judges are currently keeping away from the jail system.
"What we need to do is fix the drug problem," he said. "If we fix the drug problem, today I would have less than 100 people in jail."
Brittain said he does not believe the current jail will ever be recertified due to its space issues. He said the county commission will have to make a decision as to what to do next.
Hamblen County Commission Chair Stancil Ford told 10News commission would do everything it could to fix the problem.
"If we did build a new jail, we would want to build something that would take us down the road a ways," he said.
According to the state, the Hamblen County jail is also dealing with ventilation and understaffing issues too. Jarnigan says they stem from the overcrowding problem. The excess amount of inmates have left the jail staff having to do more work than normal.
He said the building's ventilation is being affected because all of the inmates are adding to the building's air pollution, subsequently clogging the system's air filters.