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Aug. 18, 2022


City to end contract with TDOC to operate jail facility

Thursday evening, as part of a regularly scheduled meeting, the City of Johnson City Board of Commissioners approved a motion to notify the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) of its intent to end the City’s contract to house state inmates.

The Board of Commissioners held a work session with City staff earlier in the day to learn more about the current status of the facility and its impact to City operations. City staff cited a decrease in inmates and thus revenues, rising operational costs and staffing challenges as reasons they support termination of the contract.

In operation since the 1970s, the facility began housing female state inmates in 2002. While it has a maximum capacity of 88 inmates, the facility has seen a decrease in inmates since 2019 and currently holds 35. Once TDOC has been notified of the City’s intent to end the contract those inmates will be transferred to other state facilities within 30 days.

“We have nine full-time and two part-time staff members who would be impacted by the facility’s closure,” said City Manager Cathy Ball. “We are committed to a 90-day transition period, during which we will work with those employees to identify job opportunities within the City organization, the County and at the State level.”

As part of the facility’s programming, inmates provide custodial services to multiple City buildings. Ball indicated the City will have an alternative solution in place prior to the contract’s official end date, which has yet to be determined.

Ball also told commissioners the City would begin to examine how the space currently used by the facility could be repurposed for its highest and best use moving forward.