WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The $42 million expansion is nearly complete at the Wilson County Jail, with the sheriff saying this couldn’t come soon enough as growth in the area continues to be a double-edged sword.
Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan tells News 2 the plan is to transfer inmates to the new facility by the end of the year.
He adds that this has been a work in progress for the past few years that will address overcrowding and employee shortages.
“When a jail is overcrowded, it’s very dangerous,” Bryan stated.
The jail is currently able to house 460 inmates, but the expansion will nearly double intake.
According to Bryan, the entire facility will be under 24-hour surveillance and monitored in the control towers.
“Everything is electronically controlled, up to the toilets. The toilets are actually controlled,” Bryan said. “The water flow is controlled where they can’t flood the cells or different things like that… But we built this thinking ‘how can we build it and lay it out where we don’t have to have as many correctional officers?’”
When it comes to dealing with manpower shortages, such as correctional officers, the sheriff says Wilson County is not alone.
“I talk to sheriffs all across the state and it’s the same in every county. They’re having problems hiring people,” said Bryan.
Such a shortage is an issue that only adds to Wilson County’s growing pains.
“The growth in this county and all around Nashville, everybody sees how it’s affecting county and city governments, and Wilson County jumped out ahead on the expansion of the jail, because I’m sure with all the growth, we’ll have to be addressing other things as relates to needs in the county, such as schools and different things like that,” Bryan explained.
Once the expansion is complete, the sheriff of Wilson County says inmates will be brought into the new facility as crews work to update technology in the old building. Once that’s finished, the inmates will be spread across the entire jail.