Two weeks after video was released of a brawl inside the Cheatham County jail, county leaders discussed moving forward with plans for a new jail.
Theresa Brown started clapping after Cheatham County commissioners voted unanimously to start the planning process for a new jail.
“I’m so elated to see this happening,” Brown said.
Brown says her nephew has been in the jail multiple times over the past five years.
“This overcrowding has got to stop,” Brown said.
Heather Butterworth says she’s seen the overcrowding first hand.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Butterworth said. “I’ve been saying for years that we need a new jail.”
Butterworth says she was released from the Cheatham County Jail a week ago.
“The pods have eight bunks,” Butterworth said. “There was 14 women including myself in the pod I was in.”
Sheriff Mike Breedlove says the overcrowding has been an issue for some time.
“We have 116 beds, but on average we hold anywhere from 160 to 190 inmates,” Breedlove said.
A few weeks ago video of a brawl inside the jail was released.
“We are really concerned about an employee or an inmate getting seriously hurt,” Breedlove said. “We got to do something and the steps are being taken, Commission is working really hard.”
Breedlove says they simply need more beds, a medical unit for inmates and better separation for different offenders.
“We need to classify the serious violent offenders and get them away from the people who are serving a DUI weekend,” Breedlove said.
Breedlove says a new jail could go behind the current one or just across the street. The location is something the Commission will discuss more in depth in the future as they work out plans for a new facility.
“We are on the right track, and going forward, and addressing the issues and solving the problems,” Breedlove said. “It’s not going to be done overnight but at least we’re all going forward and everybody’s on the same sheet.”