Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris said Monday night’s commission vote to approve a $52.7 million jail expansion bond is a very important moment.
Farris said the jail has been under a Tennessee Corrections Institute plan of action to address overcrowding since he became sheriff. Farris said the over 600 beds will affect sentencing for offenders who need to be incarcerated.
“The judges will take note of that, I think they’ve been trying to adhere and assist us in the overcrowding situation,” Farris said. “And probably not always placing and putting people incarcerated inside our facility that needs to be due to that. So I certainly think that will help them make their decisions.”
Farris said the county commission was fully aware of the need to relieve overcrowding from the years of reporting the situation during meetings.
“They certainly knew the position we were in,” Farris said. “This commission when they first got voted in three years ago, they had trying to fix and correct and get us an addition at the top of their priority list.”
Farris said with a construction contract in place, the first target will be addressing the parking issue for employees. Farris said he expects work to ramp up in two to three months.
“I think one of the first things that will be on the list is to start attacking the parking issue,” Farris said. “Where the sheriff’s office employees and our equipment can be moved over to one of the new parking areas that will be assigned to the sheriff’s office. At that point they’ll start working in our lower lot and going to work.”
Farris said having a contract with Bell Construction already in place is key. He said the company has built jails before and has a strong architect to use towards the expansion.