The End of an Era: HCSO Officially Closes Downtown Jail
Hamilton County, TN – Sheriff Jim Hammond is pleased to announce this morning at 6:00 am, after almost half a century of constant correctional operations, the historic Hamilton County Jail, is closed. The Hamilton County Jail, officially called the Hamilton County Justice Building, was opened for service in 1976 under the administration of Sheriff Frank Newell. It replaced the ‘old’ Hamilton County Jail that was opened in 1881 under the administration of Sheriff Hiram J. Springfield. The ‘old’ jail would serve the county’s correctional needs for almost 100 years.
“Today is a historic day for Hamilton County as we have officially closed the downtown jail and have moved all our correctional operations to the Silverdale Detention Center,” stated Sheriff Jim Hammond. “While the Hamilton County Jail has served the needs of this community for many years, it is important to recognize progress moves on. For me, today’s event is rather personal as I worked for many years as Chief Deputy in this building and now, 45 years later, I am humbled to be the Sheriff who permanently closed her doors,” he further noted.
With the downtown jail now officially closed, all arrestees in Hamilton County, including those arrested by state and federal law enforcement agencies, will be processed at the Silverdale Detention Center. While corrections based operations have now ceased at the Hamilton County Justice Building, several civilian based offices and the Corrections Training Division will remain on the lower floors of the jail until their offices can also be relocated. Floors 1 – 6 have now been emptied and shuttered.
With the announcement last year that CoreCivic would be ending their contract for management and oversight of the Silverdale Detention Center, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office officially assumed control of Silverdale on December 30, 2020. Due to the age of the existing Hamilton County Jail and the added responsibility of the Silverdale Detention Center, it became apparent from an operational and financial management perspective to combine both facilities and close the aged downtown jail. Furthermore, by combining both facilities, it ensures the HCSO Corrections Division will be able to continue an efficient continuity of services.
Members of our local media were on hand this morning to witness the official closing of the Hamilton County Jail and were able to document the last inmates leaving the downtown jail. The HCSO Public Relations Division has provided the photos below featuring the last inmate to leave the facility and photos of the first inmates booked at the Silverdale Detention Center. For privacy reasons, the names of the inmates have not been released.
More photos can be found by visiting our HCSO Facebook Page.