Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott says he will begin accepting municipal prisoners again into the county jail, noting the recent completion of a renovation project to free up space.
Arnott’s announcement Wednesday morning comes more than three months after he stopped accepting municipal inmates at the jail. The move was to deal with the facility’s overcrowding situation.
Beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday, the controversial policy was lifted.
Over the past month, a remodeling effort costing $309,000 was performed to provide the space available to accommodate 601 inmates.
Arnott says the average population at the jail is over 600 inmates, and officials continue to send inmates to be housed in other counties. As of Wednesday, there were 35 inmates who were housed in other facilities.
In a statement, the sheriff said that there was an estimate of at least five or more beds available as of Wednesday afternoon for municipal prisoners, which he called a “fluid number as we monitor the number of people who are arrested and brought into the Greene County Jail.”
"I appreciate the willingness of all Police Chiefs along with the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson in coming together to discuss solutions to address jail population issues," states Sheriff Arnott. "We all hold the safety of our citizens paramount - we are in the same mindset that those who commit crimes in our cities, our county, our communities, need to be held accountable."
He said that of the changes being implemented at the Greene County Jail is to the Book and Release Policy. Arnott says it will be modified to ensure those suspects who are arrested for the crime of burglary are not released but held for charges to be presented to the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
"We won't be able to solve the jail population issues overnight. It is still a work in progress but we are heading in the right direction," said Sheriff Arnott. "I'm positive with the input, feedback and discussions with the leadership of our community, we will continue to look for solutions and resources. It is not acceptable for the Greene County Jail to be a revolving door of the criminal justice system."