The sheriff says if tents are good enough for the military, they're good enough for inmates. So for now he's using them to solve his problem with crowded cells.
Life at the Franklin County Jail isn't easy with hard floors, hard cots and overcrowd cells, but it just got tougher.
In a couple weeks dozens of inmates will be roughing it outdoors in a new military tent for two reasons. First, the jail's run out of room, and second, if tents are good enough for soldiers, they're good enough for inmates.
Mike Mock, Franklin County Sheriff, says, “There's no let up in sight. We got to continue to do our job. Put the bad guys in jail, so we put up a tent. I feel like if our military can put up with a tent then our inmates can sleep in a tent."
In 1989 the jail was only built to house 80 inmates. Now more than 100 are in here on any given day.
These days there are a lot more inmates walking in the doors than walking out of them. The problem is finding enough places to house them while they're here. Still, safety is a factor, so we asked just who would be staying in this tent.
MAJ Chester Creamer of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office says, "It'll probably be low risk at this point. We'll rotate from one week to the next, give everybody a chance to sleep in the tent."
Cots are on the way, and inmates should be camping outdoors in just a few weeks. Franklin County administrators are looking into a more permanent fix to the overcrowded jail, including bussing inmates to jails in other counties.