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Overcrowding, other issues lead Bradley County Jail to fail state inspection

From NewsChannel 9: Officials at the Bradley County Jail have until next month to resolve 13 deficiencies state inspectors recently found at the facility that forced them to give the jail a failing grade.


That August inspection revealed issues such as overcrowding, plus some issues with the kitchen, admission records and supervision of inmates.


Here’s a full list of deficiencies inspectors found in their categories of inspection:


Physical Plant

  • “Square footage in male/female housing is out of compliance due to overcrowding. C, D, E and G male pods were overcrowded. G and H female pods were overcrowded.”



  • “Fire drills do not meet the standard.”



  • “Key inventory does not meet the standard.”
  • “Restraint chair logs do not meet the standard.”


Food Services

  • “Weekly walk through of kitchen does not meet the standard.”
  • “Security of culinary equipment does not meet the standard”


Medical Services

  • “Medication refusals does not meet standard.”


Admission Records and Release

  • “Contact information does not meet standard.”
  • “Signatures on booking paperwork does not meet the standard.”



  • “Property issued during booking process does not meet the standard.”
  • “Laundry does not meet the standard.”


Supervision of Inmates

  • “Security checks do not meet standard. Special observation logs do not meet standard.”



  • “Due to overcrowding, classification is difficult to achieve.”


We’ve reached out to Bradley County officials for comment on this inspection and we’ll update this story if and when we hear back.


Late Monday morning, Sheriff Steve Lawson released this statement via email:

“In a recent inspection by the Tennessee Corrections Institute on August 22, 2023, the inspectors found several violations of applicable TCI standards.

Rest assured, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office prides itself on high standards. All the items on the list will be fully addressed and some have already been corrected. Our goal to be fully staffed will certainly aid in ensuring a secure facility; however, an overpopulated jail is an issue we will continue to face. Since the new pay plan passed in July of this year, the Bradley County Jail has employed many new hires who will soon be fully trained resulting in adequate staffing.”

The jail failed an inspection 4 years ago, again due to overcrowding.


But after improvements were made, the jail was recertified after passing state and federal inspections.


Read the full inspection below: