Sergeant Jake Miller walks the corridor inside the Rhea County Jail in Dayton, TN, in this file photo.Photo by Kimberly McMillian
DAYTON, TN — It's been more than a decade since the state of Tennessee ordered Rhea County to build a bigger, safer jail, but it still hasn't happened.
The Rhea County Sheriff's Office says the jail is only getting worse as the county grows. It's always over the state regulated capacity, many times by double. Officials say the scariest part is having to walk large groups of inmates alongside the public in order to get them to court. Thursday that trip included 44 inmates at once and resulted in some members of the public sneaking contraband to their handcuffed buddies.
In most cities you wouldn't see shackled inmates shuffling down the street, but it's a common sight in Dayton. There's about 100 yards between the rhea county jail and courthouse. Getting these accused criminals their time before a judge means walking them through parking lots and across the road.