Rutherford County jail fails inspection, faces decertification

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Rutherford County jail failed their most recent inspection by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Kevin Walters, the Communications Director for the department, told News 2 the jail now faces decertification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI).

According to official documents, the jail was inspected on Sept. 14 and it was found the facility “does not meet all the applicable minimum standards.” Some of the things found to be deficient were the fire alarms in the kitchen and, more seriously, only two officers were found to be supervising and managing around 200 female inmates. Click here to read the September inspection report.

The September inspection determined the facility needed to be re-inspected, and that second inspection took place earlier this month on Nov. 8. While the two issues mentioned above were corrected, a third issue reportedly remained.

The inspection says the restraint chair in the booking room is not being checked within a 15-minute standard, and neither are suicide watches. The TCI recommends 4 to 5 of the new 12 officers be assigned to the booking room to help meet the standard. Click here to read the November re-inspection report.

The TCI Board of Control is slated to meet Dec. 7 where the jail’s inspection is expected to be discussed.

Walters explained that consequences of decertification can possibly include increased insurance costs, potential federal litigation by inmates, immediate loss of any pending governmental contracts, and the mandatory loss for all annual TCI-required basic and in-service training for correctional employees.

“If a facility fails to meet all or some standards during an inspection then they have 60 days to correct the problem or request a plan of action to address problems which cannot be solved within that period of time,” he added.

Inaction on those issues, Walter says, is what can lead to decertification.