Pubdate: Sun, 24 Dec 2006
Source: Jackson Sun News (TN)
Copyright: 2006 The Jackson Sun


It's one thing to have criminals in jail, they belong there. But 
crime in jail is something different. Gibson County residents should 
be outraged by news of illegal drug activity in the Gibson County 
Correctional Complex. Fortunately, a crack down has begun. It should 
continue until all signs of illegal drug activity are removed from the jail.

A county mechanic and two inmates were charged Tuesday with various 
illegal drug crimes involving introducing drugs into the jail 
complex. Later in the week, a third inmate was charged with 
possession of illegal drugs in the jail. The arrests came following 
an investigation and thorough searching of inmates. Gibson County 
Sheriff Chuck Arnold said jail and inmate searches would continue.

The mechanic and the first two inmates arrested were charged with 
scheming to introduce illegal drugs into the jail. Investigators 
believe the later arrest was unrelated to the scheme.

Clearly, more aggressive jail searches and tougher screening of 
inmates allowed to work outside the jail are in order. The public 
cannot tolerate a jail environment that is no less a criminal 
environment than the streets and crack houses. Keeping the jail drug 
free and crime free must be the first order of business for the 
sheriff. He is the jail's boss and overseer. That a county employee 
is implicated in the scheme to get drugs into the jail is disturbing. 
If he is convicted, he deserves an especially tough sentence for 
violating the public trust.

The investigation and arrests shake public confidence in county law 
enforcement. How long has this been going on? What other drugs and 
crimes can be found in the jail. What are the rules for managing the 
jail? The best way to clear the air is for the sheriff to conduct a 
complete review of jail procedures and report his answers and plans 
to the community.