Conditions get smellier at Nashville jail as renovation plans linger

Davidson County jail sewage
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Jail conditions are worsening in Davidson County after the Metro Council shot down the city’s plans to relocate the facilities due to their condition.

The Metro Council instead approved millions to renovate the old facility, which sits in downtown Nashville.

Plans for renovation have yet to be announced, and the problems appear to continue.

On Friday, a flooded toilet closed part of the jail for days, soaking the carpet along administrative offices and splattering sewage all over the walls.

Davidson County jail sewage
Photo: WKRN

Austin Bodie, jail administrator, told News 2 it happened in an inmate’s cell in the medical unit, posing a health risk.

“We wanted to make sure there was no contagion that he was being isolated for,” Bodie said on tests completed after the incident. The tests came back negative.

The room where people visit inmates and the administrative offices were closed Friday morning until Monday evening because of the mess.

“In two and a half months, we’ve had three major floods here,” Bodie told News 2.

He said for issues like that the money to fix them comes from the operating budget.

The jail administrator also said, so far, the jail has been covered, but if incidents keep happening, it might require additional tax dollars.

The only way to permanently fix all the problems is to start the renovation project.

“The funding is there. One-hundred and thirteen million dollars has been approved to do this, but the procurement process and getting a contract and all that is what we are waiting on,” Sheriff Daron Hall told News 2.

“We need to hurry up and get that done,” he added.

Sheriff Daron Hall
Photo: WKRN

Sheriff Hall said the $113 million doesn’t include everything, either. The administrative building doesn’t fall under that budget and will need to be addressed by the Metro Council in the future.

“This is a far more expensive way to build the jail then to have done it in the southeast area, but that decision is behind us and we are moving on,” he said.

Hall thinks the building will be torn down and construction will start this spring or summer. The 600 inmates will be housed in other jail facilities.

Construction should last about three years.

News 2 reached out to Mayor Megan Barry for comment.

“I, along with my colleagues on the Metro Council, recognized the need for updates and repairs at the Criminal Justice Center when we overwhelmingly approved $113 million in the Capital Improvement Budget for renovations earlier this year,” she said. “Improving the conditions for inmates and employees is a priority for Sheriff Hall and for my administration. I look forward to continuing discussions and reviewing our options for doing so in a timely and efficient manner. “

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