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DeKalb Jail Committee Votes To Move Forward With Justice Center

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
DeKalb Jail Committee Votes To Move Forward With Justice Center

The DeKalb County Jail Committee has voted to recommend building a new justice center instead of just a jail.

The committee voted 8-2-1 to send that recommendation to County Commissioners. A Justice Center would be a more comprehensive approach to all areas in the criminal justice system. Committee Member and County Commissioner Tim Reynolds said the decision for him was a financial one.

“Based on Sheriff Patrick Ray’s numbers, he would need an additional ten employees and with those additional ten employees, you’re talking an additional half-million dollars alone just to fund the jail,” Reynolds said.

Commissioner Daniel Crips said a jail would mean transportation costs and safety issues in transporting suspects to and from court.

“You know if you build a jail that’s a stand alone jail, you’d have a lot more recurring costs because you’d have to transport your inmates to the court house and it would require additional personnel,” Crips said. “Also you’d have to have vans, more security. It would just be a lot more return expense from now on.”

Currently DeKalb County is paying neighboring counties to help house inmates due to overcrowding. The state recently reduced the Dekalb County Jail capacity from 102 inmates to 52 because of issues with the facility.

Reynolds said the county needs the new facility as soon as possible.

“Sheriff Ray has been working with other judges to potentially for non-violent offenders about doing house arrest and ankle monitoring and that situation, so I know they’re working through those processes as well,” Ray said. “A short answer is we are trying to be able to get through what we’re managing right now until we get our new justice center built.”

Reynolds said he was confident the Commission would approve moving forward with the justice center. Crips said there were hurdles to overcome, but he also believed the justice center push on.

“Funding is still going to be an issue, got to find land to build it,” Crips said. “There’s still several obstacles in our way, but I feel very confident everything is headed in the right direction”

Both Crips and Reynolds agreed that a raise in either the County’s wheel tax or property tax may be required to fund the justice center.

“No one wants to raise taxes and I hate that’s even a conversation, but at the end of the day the State of Tennessee has us in a pinch,” Reynolds said. “It’s pretty well we have to do something.”


The post DeKalb Jail Committee Votes To Move Forward With Justice Center appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.