Adult Detention Division
Rutherford County Adult Detention Center is a 958-bed correctional facility under the supervision of Sheriff Robert F. Arnold and Major Tommy Thompson.
The holding facility confines pretrial male and female inmates as well as sentenced prisoners in a double cell environment. The facility provides basic needs in a safe and healthy environment for prisoners. The detention facility operates its own kitchen and laundry facilities and provides medical services, a library, legal assistance and outdoor recreation area for inmates. The facility complies with the laws of Rutherford County, the state of Tennessee and the United States.
Prisoners are housed inside the jail at 940 New Salem Highway where the maximum sentence is eight years. Twenty-five percent of the inmates are state inmates. The jail staff maintains complete control of the prisoners at all times through a rigid environment.
“This is considered one of the toughest detention centers in Tennessee,” Sheriff Arnold said. “We hope this will deter inmates from returning.”
When prisoners enter the jail to await trial or serve a sentence, the jail staff conducts a search and stores all personal property. Inmates are fingerprinted and photographed and make telephone calls. Inmates shower and change into the facility uniform. Inmates are issued sandals, a mattress, blankets and personal hygiene items.
The typical day for inmates begins with breakfast at 6 a.m. followed by showers and cleaning cells until 10 a.m. Each cell contains two beds, a sink, commode, window, bench, table, unbreakable mirror, light and emergency call button. During the mornings and afternoons, inmates may leave their cells to move about in the outdoor recreation area and common area of the pod. They make collect telephone calls, read books from the jail library, play cards and exercise. Lockdown occurs between 8:30 and 9 p.m.
Inmates can listen to the radio to get current events.
During the day, inmates can enroll in educational, rehabilitation and faith-based programs offered to improve themselves and give skills to keep them from repeating crimes upon release.
With a goal to change behavior and reduce recidivism rates, programs assist inmates in the transition to a healthy, productive life outside the facility. These programs focus on successful, lawful living by changing old, destructive and illegal behaviors. These programs focus on changing behaviors through education, faith and treatment. Some of the programs offered are: GED, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Bible study, vocational housekeeping and food service, parenting, Reformers Unanimous, therapeutic community, child management, Drug Court and the Amachi Mentoring Program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.
Inmates who need help after being released may consider the Franklin Road Baptist Church’s Reformers Anonymous program at 7 p.m. every Friday at the church on Franklin Road. The program addresses drug, alcohol, nicotine and pornography addictions.
Because of the high medical costs, inmates pay $1 to $5 for medicines because they need to be responsible somewhat for benefits.
The jail staff allows prisoners, termed trusties, to work under supervision by cleaning bathrooms, emptying trash, washing cars, cooking, mowing and maintaining the building and grounds. They save the county money on upkeep of the building. State law allows trusties to work off one day of their sentence for every day of labor.
The Food Services staff supervises trusties who cook hot breakfasts and suppers and prepare lunches consisting of cold sandwiches, soup, chips or salads. A dietitian approves meals based on the food pyramid. Inmates get balanced meals of 2,600 calories per day with milk, protein, fruits and vegetables daily.
Family members donate money to the inmates to be applied to their individual trust fund. Inmates use the money to buy items such as candy, snacks, games and personal hygiene items through the commissary each week. The county recovers a certain percentage of the commissary payment to help defray jail costs.
Families who want to visit must undergo a background check and can’t have a felony record. Once approved, families may schedule visitation after the first week. The inmate and visitors are separated by glass. Officers monitor visitation from a catwalk. In order to maintain a safe visitation experience, strict rules apply to the visitor and the inmate being visited.