Inmates at the Grundy County Jail in Altamont, Tenn., have been moved out while electrical repairs are made to the county's aging lockup, state officials confirmed.
The move is temporary and prisoners could be moved back in soon if repairs are completed as anticipated, said Megan Buell, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. The department includes the state fire marshal's office and other offices responsible for jail inspections.
Buell said early Thursday that an inspection was made after a couple of inmates were shocked because of electrical problems. The inmates were not seriously injured, but the incident did trigger an inspection.
Buell said county officials decided to move the inmates to make the repair work quicker for the electrical contractor. There was no state order to move them, only to make the repairs, she said.
A state inspector "found some issues that needed to be repaired," she said. "The anticipated date for all this to be complete is July 24."
County Mayor Lonnie Cleek said the electrical contractor needs to be able to have access to the jail building and to be able to turn off the power as needed while making the repairs.
Inmates have been moved to jails in other counties for the time being, Cleek said.
Moving the inmates during the repairs is faster, safer and more cost-effective than leaving them in Altamont, he said.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.