Jail Counts Continue to Trend Downward in Lawrence County
LAWRENCE COUNTY - AUGUST 2, 2022 - The jail counts continue to move downward after the court system in Lawrence County continues to work together.
According to Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham the jail count was at 100 inmates or 56 percent capacity.
Total inmates - 100
Males - 82
Females - 18
Level - 6 Felons - 4
Department of Corrections - 2
Paroles - 0
According to public defender Tim Sledd the whole court system has worked together for the recent trending in the reduction of the jail population.
All the Lawrence County Judges which include Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge, John Plummer III, Lawrence County Superior Court II Judge Bob Cline, Prosecutor Sam Arp II, and Chief Public Defender Tim Sledd have been finding solutions to make sure the jail population stays under control.
The Lawrence County Commissioners is currently reviewing a proposal to build a $46 Million correctional facility on Beech Street in Bedford. According to a Justice study the county's justice system is facing many issues that need to be addressed.
Officials say there is a better working relationship between all the parties which include the county commissioners, county council, and the court system to address the issues identified in the recent study.
The study is the second under former Sheriff Sam Craig and a recent study by Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham.
Issues at the Lawrence County Jail span over a 32-year period, with the lifespan of most jails at 20 years. The Lawrence County Jail opened in 1990 with Superior Court at the bottom of the facility to save transportation costs at the time.
Proposals from the Judges at the time of the recent study wanted all the courts, prosecutor office, and public defenders under one campus.
The study also did not identify using the existing Lawrence County Jail, or other cost saving measures to reduce the price of $46 Million.
Greene County Uses Existing Jail to Expand
The Greene County officials renovated their current jail recently. Instead of building a new facility Greene County used their existing facility and renovated it saving taxpayers several million dollars in building a new facility
The Greene County Jail expansion was under budget after their jail was facing overcrowding. The Greene County Jail now holds 288 inmates. Contractors worked together to make cost-cutting moves to reduce the cost.
The Greene County Jail cost approximately $14.8 Million and the project concluded in October 2019.