Nashville leaders want Tennessee correction officials to cut the number of state prisoners being housed at the Metro Detention Facility or come up with a plan to build more space at the chronically crowded local jail, reports The Tennessean. There are about 1,300 inmates in the Metro Detention Facility, roughly 400 above capacity. All of the 900 men and some of the 400 female inmates are state prisoners who are being held in the local jail under contract with the state.
Under Metro’s plan, when inmate levels reach 95 percent of capacity for three consecutive months, the state would have six options: build more beds, pay Metro to house state inmates in other jails, pay for Metro to send state inmates to privately run facilities outside of the county, transfer state felons to the state prisons, ask the courts not to send inmates to the Metro Detention Facility, or avoid sending inmates with sentences longer than three years to the Metro jail. The existing contract has no provision for limiting the number of state prisoners housed at the local jail. That has resulted in severe crowding, with some inmates lying on plastic, stackable cots called “boats,” so they don’t sleep on the floor. Extra beds are jammed into cells so that three inmates can fit into spaces designed for two.