About 30 newly-elected Tennessee sheriffs and their jail administrators heard presentations about medical care, food service and operations of the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center during a tour Tuesday.
Sheriff Robert Arnold welcomed about 100 sheriffs, chief deputies, jail administrators, Tennessee Sheriff's Association President Terry Ashe, and representatives from the Tennessee Corrections Institute, the agency that inspects jails and provides training to correctional officers.
Detention Center Commander Tommy Thompson said the jail has a population of 883 inmates Tuesday. The jail budget is $15 million annually. The state pays $37 a day to pay for inmates held for the state Department of Correction. Most of the inmates are felons.
Lt. Chris Deal and Sgt. David Hutsell led tours through the jail pods, annex where women are housed and booking.
Judges come to the jail to hear about 250 cases per week, saving costs because those inmates don't have to be transported to the Judicial Building for court, Lt. Deal said. About one-half of the inmates plead guilty from the jail court.
Dr. Dan Rudd, the medical director for the Adult Detention Center, the Correctional Work Center and the Juvenile Detention Center, and his staff of 40 employees provide medical care for about 880 jail inmates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 150 to 200 inmates at the work center and between 20 and 40 youths at the Juvenile Detention Center.
"We treat inmates with respect," Dr. Rudd said. "We treat them as patients."
His staff provides the inmates with community standard care with medical care. He contracts with a dentist and dental hygienist and imaging. He and administrator RN Ken Tucker developed policies and procedures to run the jail clinic.
Dr. Rudd works with the judges, sheriff and district attorney's office to consider alternate sentencing plans for critically ill patients.
The medical staff provides medications to inmates and handles patients with psychiatric needs. Medical costs consist of about 15 to 30 percent of jail costs.
One new sheriff asked about the cost of Dr. Rudd's contract.
Dr. Rudd replied his contract is about $6 million for health care for all three county facilities.
His staff also conducts the blood draws for DUI suspects 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides TB skin tests, Hepatitis vaccines and flu shots for employees.
Sgt. Nancy Loyd, who supervises the kitchen staff, said meals cost about $3 per day per inmate. Kitchen trusties bake bread, saving money from buying bread. A dietician approves the menu.
"The food is nutritious," Sgt. Loyd said.
Public information officer
Rutherford County Sheriff's Office