Pubdate: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 Source: Jackson Sun News (TN) http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061224/OPINION/612240308/1014 Copyright: 2006 The Jackson Sun Contact: http://www.jacksonsun.com Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1482 GIBSON CO RESIDENTS DESERVE CRIME-FREE JAIL 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.