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Cocke County man sues sues over Hamblen County Jail conditions

March 16th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

The Morristown Citizen Tribune is reporting that an inmate at the Hamblen County Jail has filed a class action suit in federal court alleging life at the facility amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Cocke County resident J.C. Livingston filed suit that leveled a variety of allegations ranging from sanitation and safety to temperature control.

While acknowledging that some of the issues outlined in the lawsuit are true – for instance the jail typically is overcrowded – law enforcement officials say many of the allegations are simply false.

"This is an old jail," Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin said. "It’s got its problems but it’s still functional as a jail."

The sheriff’s chief deputy, Wayne Mize, said the conditions in the jail may not be country club perfect but they are acceptable.

"They get three meals a day, except on weekends when they get two meals. It’s just frustrating to know we see inmates come in here and gain weight because they eat better when they’re in jail than when they’re at home.

"They do live better than the military does in a lot of places."

The suit alleges inaction on the part of the Hamblen County Sheriff’s office and County Commission to fix the problems.


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