3-tier bunk beds ease overcrowding in Sumner County jail

3-tier bunk beds ease overcrowding in Sumner County jail (Image 1)

The Sumner County Sheriff has solved a frequent problem of jail overcrowding by using triple-tier bunk beds.

“We added 170 beds, which added 170 people,” Sheriff Sonny Weatherford told Nashville's News 2.

Weatherford said he approached the Sumner County commission and told them about the situation at the jail.

“Our facility was set up for 662, so we only had 662 beds. On a weekend we'd get up to 730 [inmates], which were causing problems because we were having to put them on mattresses on the floor.”

Weatherford said he came up with the idea for three-tier bunk beds after he was told there was not money in the budget to build a new jail which could cost as much as $5 million.

The new bunk beds, which cost around $112,000, include a ladder to the top bunk and have a rail to prevent an inmate from falling to the floor.

According to Weatherford no other jail in Tennessee had used the three tier bunk beds.

“This will make us a model jail because there's no other jail in the state of Tennessee at this time that has put in 3 tiered bunks in their facility,” he said.

Sumner County jail cells are 105-square-feet. The state of Tennessee mandates jails provide 25-square-feet for each inmate in a cell.

Jails in Georgia and Virginia have also installed the triple bunk beds.

Weatherford added he has heard from other sheriff's throughout the state wanting more information on how Sumner County houses inmates.

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