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Administrators: Grainger Co. jail rebuilding from the bottom | News

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Administrators: Grainger Co. jail rebuilding from the bottom


(WBIR-Grainger County) After officials arrested five jailers following a TBI investigation, administrators at Grainger County Detention Center said the facility is in rebuilding mode.

Thursday, five former correctional officers were arrested on miscellaneous charges, including misconduct, sexual conduct with an inmate, bribery, permitting or facilitating escape, and more. The arrests comes after the TBI investigated the escape of three inmates in November.

At that time, Chief Deputy Charles Biddle told 10News the staff consistently broke policies and procedures. The jail had repeatedly failed inspections, and those reports highlighted numerous ongoing issues.

Now Scott Williams, the assistant jail administrator, said the staff is rebuilding from the bottom.

"We've hired about 10 new correctional officers," said Williams. "But it will take time. There's no quick fix."

Williams said administrators are increasing training, above the minimum requirements, and carefully selecting new hires.

As for requirements, like all counties in Tennessee, applicants must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass a physical exam, psychological exam, drug test, and background check. Williams said the pay for Grainger County jailers starts at $10.66 an hour.

"We have seen a number of people leave their positions to come here and make a difference," said Williams. "They want to help the community, and Biddle, the jail administrator, and our staff are working very hard to make this a working, functioning, and honorable department," said Williams.

Williams started working for the department about four weeks ago, and wasn't there when the three inmates escaped. Officials did not notice they were missing for days. But, Williams was there Thursday when the five jailers were arrested.

"I understand the community is concerned," said Williams. "But don't group us all with the former correctional officers. The staff that is here, they're good people."

Williams said there is not a quick fix for the countless problems the jail has faced, but he said officials are working long hours to make sweeping changes.

"I'm working 14 to 16 hour days. So is our jail administrator. She was here on Thanksgiving. We're all working hard," said Williams.

New razor wire was installed, along with an exterior fence, and new cameras will be installed, according to Williams.

"This is just the beginning," said Williams. "We're looking at more intense training in the future. I just am asking the community to be patient."


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