The opening of a drug rehab prison in Morgan County may be used by area district attorneys to house suitable candidates, but it won't do much to relieve crowding at the Knox County jail. The new prison, opened last week by Gov. Bill Haslam, only had 100 beds statewide, though more such facilities are planned.
The Safety Center to be operated by Helen Ross McNabb remains the best chance to relieve overcrowding by taking drug and alcohol addicted offenders to rehab rather than jail.
The goal is to prevent adding another pod at the jail on Maloneyville Road that could cost an estimated $22 million. Dealing with the drug-and-alcohol regular visitors to the jail could hold off expansion of the jail for 10 years, officials predict.