Tennessee jails have more inmates than beds
Tennessee’s jails are bursting at the seams. Nearly half of the state’s 109 jails have more inmates than beds, some holding two or three times as many inmates as they are certified for. Detainees in these counties find themselves sleeping on floors in common areas, using portable showers and toilets brought in so jails remain legal to operate. They’re subject to be shipped off to other counties when the fire marshal comes calling or the floor space runs out.
Such overcrowding is costly. Counties with more inmates than beds may find themselves more vulnerable to lawsuits, see their jail insurance policies skyrocket or get canceled, have to pay another county to house some of their inmates or be forced to build a new jail. And jails are expensive.