It was brand new just a few decades ago, but in that relatively short amount of time, there were many problems at the Knox County Jail.
“When I first came in January, the roof was leaking,” says Jailer Larry D. Hammons.
Toilets didn't work and the walls were yellow from cigarette smoke.
“The odor back in January was terrible from sewer and plumbing; smoking going on in the building,” says Hammons.
Much has been done to fix the problems. Smoking is no longer allowed.
“The plumbing has been fixed. Electric problems fixed, roof fixed,” says Hammons.
The Knox County Fiscal Court closed the jail amidst allegations of corruption. Three inmates escaped and there was one death.
Dozens of inmates are now shipped back and forth between jails in as many as five other counties.
Some of those inmates are transported to jails in counties that require a five-hour round trip.
Add fuel expense to inmate room and board and taxpayers are paying a pretty penny.
“Right now, our budget is off the wall,” says Hammons.
But that could change if the state gives the all clear for the jail to reopen.
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