In two separate inspections this year, the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI) found Roane County Jail inmates packed into the facility, far beyond its official capacity. The inspection reports noted a shortage of wash basins and toilets, especially in the women’s section of the jail. For a jail built only four years ago to alleviate overcrowding, the threat of decertification loomed large.
In 2009, the Roane County Sheriff's Department proudly showed off its brand new, $10 million jailhouse to a public weary of fighting about it. The long-awaited opening of the facility followed more than a decade of heated discussion, shuttled plans and warnings that the previous facility was dangerously overcrowded.