Study says a new Shelby County jail could save money - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Study says a new Shelby County jail could save money

A new study said Shelby County needs a new jail.

Sheriff Mark Luttrell commissioned the report that said the county must build a new jail within the next five years or suffer financial and overcrowding issues

The study calls for the county to build a new $480 million jail downtown or to expand the current correction center out east for 180 million.

The study said a new or upgraded facility would save money by reducing the need for so many jailers.

It also recommended screening and diversion programs to reduce the number of inmates, which would save the county $6.4 million.

Commissioners are considering canceling their contract to hold state prisoners at the corrections center to free up room for local inmates.

"I don't think we need to build a new jail.  The sheriff, I don't think, wants to get rid of the old jail.  I think we can fix up the main jail and start using some, over a period of time a couple of years, start using some of the buildings out at correction center," commissioner Mike Ritz said.

The study also found the jail population dropped seven percent in the last year with an average of 2,500 inmates per day.

But, it also estimates the population will jump to 3,000 in the next five years.

The sheriff will present the study to county commissioners Wednesday.

Financial constraints could prevent the county from implementing any of the suggestions for at least two years.

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