Macon County Jail fails last 3 inspections; state finds overcrow - WSMV News 4

Macon County Jail fails last 3 inspections; state finds overcrowding main issue

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LAFAYETTE, TN (WSMV) -

A county jail where three men escaped this week is apparently not up to state standards, and the News 4 I-Team has the inspection records to prove it.

Two of the escaped inmates remained on the run Thursday night. One of them, accused murderer Dylan Ferguson is now in custody. He was on the TBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list and considered armed and dangerous.

The I-Team has learned the Macon County Jail failed its last three inspections. The jail is also so crowded the state claims they can't keep track of inmates.

In three inspections within the last six months, the jail did not meet state standards a single time.

With each visit to the Macon County Jail, inspectors found overcrowding to be the main issue. According to records obtained by the I-Team, at one point inspectors found 195 inmates at the jail even though it says capacity is 125. That was just last month.

After the jail failed a different inspection in May, the state wrote, “Not all inmates are observed on an hourly basis. Inmates in booking room have not been checked for up to three hours … and inmates cannot be classified because of inmate overcrowding."

Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons blamed the escapes on a lack of resources.

"With the manpower we have it's very hard to do the proper security checks we can do, so at this time we're working with the state on overcrowding and we're in the process of getting more employees here,” Gammons said.

According to a state audit, since 2015 the jail has received just under $500,000 to hire more guards. Despite the extra money, Gammons said they still don't have enough guards.

"It shows we're understaffed and underpaid, and it’s hard to get someone to come to work at the Macon County Jail for $12 an hour,” Gammons said.

The latest budget shows the Macon County Jail received nearly $1.4 million. So, for the past three years the jail continues to see more money and the sheriff continues to blame the issues on a lack of resources and the jail being understaffed.

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