Brief History of the CJI

Brief History of the Blount County Community Justice Initiative

The Community Justice Initiative (CJI) was established in 2017 to work with justice and incarceration consultants toward solutions for incarceration capacity and facility upgrades at the Blount County Adult Detention Center (Jail). Individuals were selected for their experience and expertise relative to the issues at hand and organized into Task Groups to focus on existing issues and potential solutions. As they began to develop a Mission Statement and Objectives, participants determined that the CJI should not be a temporary entity. Though over time Task Groups would evolve and participants and leadership would change, the Community Justice Initiative should continually address present issues, always looking and working toward the future.

The current Blount County Jail, located at 938 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, has been in service since 1999. County and regional population growth contribute to increasing inmate population and make needed facility updates and modifications increasingly difficult to accomplish. The opioid epidemic, other addictions, and mental health issues compound the difficulties for law enforcement, the entire justice system, local recovery programs and the community as a whole. The Community Justice Initiative (CJI) is working toward the right solutions for Blount County.

The Task Groups of the CJI worked with the MBI Team of Architects and justice and incarceration consultants and:

  • Studied past and ongoing incarceration data;
  • Identified needed improvements at the jail;
  • Identified and evaluated options for facilities, operations, and programs;
  • Explored alternatives to incarceration; and
  • Developed recommendations to be presented to the County Commission.