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Hamilton County TN Jail

County Jail

Last Updated: May 19, 2020
601 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Security Level
County - medium
Facility Type
Satellite View of Hamilton County TN Jail

Hamilton County TN Jail basic information to help guide you through what you can do for your inmate while they are incarcerated. The facility's direct contact number: 423-209-7055

The Hamilton County TN Jail is a medium-security detention center located at 601 Walnut St Chattanooga, TN which is operated locally by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and holds inmates awaiting trial or sentencing or both. Most of the sentenced inmates are here for less than two years. Hamilton County accepts inmates from surrounding towns, municipalities, the US Marshal's Service and the Chattanooga Police Department who do not have their own long-term lock-up.

Booking - The Booking Section is a twenty-four hour, seven day per week operation and is responsible for the intake and processing of all admissions into the Hamilton County Jail. The Booking Section is comprised of five posts: Intake, Data Entry, Fingerprint/ID, NCIC/RMS, and First Floor Operations.

Security Division - Several components make up this section. They include:

  • Security
  • Security Supervisor
  • Disciplinary/Workforce Officer
  • Segregation/Movement Officer
  • Security Intelligence Officer
  • Recreation Officer

Security - This area plays a significant role within the daily operation of the Corrections Division. This section is responsible for security operations, physical plant security, emergency plans, fire and life safety, security vulnerability assessments, security threat group management, transports, equipment upkeep, inmate phone system, video monitoring system, radio frequency identification devices, and compiling the monthly security report.

Security Supervisor - This supervisor oversees daily operation and coordinates all safety and security inspections of the facility and follow up on needed repairs and/or corrections, responsible for facility key and lock control, video monitoring equipment, security equipment inventory, communications equipment, kitchen tool inventory and equipment, and vehicle maintenance and upkeep; oversees the Security Threat Group (STG) task force, visitation, inmate workforce and recreation programs, disciplinary process, segregated inmates; high risk, administrative, disciplinary, pre-hearing disciplinary, protective custody, special needs inmates, kitchen tool inventory and equipment; and contraband reduction program; coordinate inmate transports, movement of inmates within the facility to medical, programs, arraignment, court assigned housing areas pending and after classification; conducts educational tours and outside training for the general public as well as other agencies. He is actively involved with in-service and pre-service training.

Segregation/Movement Officer - This officer monitors all inmates housed in a segregation area. He monitors inmates in all classes of Administrative and Disciplinary segregation to ensure the need for segregation is necessary, and ensures those serving a disciplinary segregation sentence are removed on their expiration date. This officer also ensures that weekly and monthly segregation reviews are conducted by appropriate staff members. He works in a coordinated effort with the Classification Section, Medical, and Case Management to ensure that all inmates are properly housed. He also coordinates the movement of inmates throughout the facility in compliance with the Classification decisions. This officer is actively involved in the facility training program.

Security Intelligence Officer - This officer conducts in-house investigations on Protective Custody, Security Threat Groups, Grievances, and Disciplinary infractions as directed by the Security Supervisor. He also maintains the inmate phone system, oversees needed repairs, coordinates updates, and makes recommendations on improvements. This officer is actively involved in the facility training program.

Recreation Officer - This officer ensure that all inmates have an opportunity to indoor/outdoor recreation as scheduled; maintains operational schedule of organized recreational activities; Oversees and maintains accountability for all recreational equipment; Supervises the operation of the inmate library; Locates and maintains a good supply and diversity of acceptable paperback reading material for distribution to inmates. He also oversees the distribution of legal and bulk mail to the inmate population.

Security Shifts - Three security shifts provide around the clock custody and control of the inmate population as well as the daily operations of the jail. Correctional Officers are assigned to a variety of positions that include floor operations (inmate housing units), visitation, central control, booking, court holding, internal and external transportation duties.

Mental Health Transports - The Corrections Division has been tasked with providing transportation services for citizens within Hamilton County who have been identified as potentially harmful to themselves or others as a result of mental health problems. A Crisis Response Team member who makes a determination that the citizen may be at risk conducts an assessment. A Certificate of Need is prepared and the jail is contacted requesting transportation. Transportation is typically provided from the scene to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Facility or any other designated facility.

The Hamilton County Jail Counseling section includes: A licensed counselor from the Mental Health Cooperative and a Master’s of Divinity level Chaplain/Program Coordinator.

On site Mental Health Services were implemented in September 1999 and provide case management and psychiatric services to persons with severe and persistent mental illness. The Case Manager is responsible for assessment, crisis intervention, advocacy, after care planning, and staff mental health/suicide identification and intervention training.

The Counselor advises inmates regarding educational and occupational alternatives; provides crisis intervention counseling to inmates experiencing emotional and/or physical crisis; assists inmates in developing awareness of their problems, values, and social and practical skills to deal with the realities of daily living.

The Jail Chaplain/Program Coordinator plans, directs and administers all aspects of programs both spiritual and secular; is responsible for the approval and training of all lay and clergy volunteers from faiths represented by the inmate population; develops and maintains a close working relationship with community resources, and visits with inmates daily.

The following is a partial list of programs available to inmates incarcerated in the Hamilton County Jail:

  • Religious awareness programs - via basic Biblical and Quran studies, Sunday worship and Jumah services, in-depth doctrinal exegesis, and correspondence courses inmates have the opportunity to explore, affirm and/or reaffirm their spiritual and/or religious foundations.
    1. Holy Communion
    2. Sunday A.M. Worship
    3. Sunday P.M. Worship
    4. Wednesday P.M. Worship
    5. New Believers
    6. Emmaus Walk
    7. Living Well By Faith
    8. Jumah
    9. Catholic Worship
  • Secular awareness programs - from juvenile to senior citizen; relationship building, anger management, constructive decision making, overcoming addictive tendencies, conflict management and child discipline are just some of the topics addressed through secular programming in the Hamilton County Jail.
    1. Adult GED Education
    2. Leading the Way
    3. Alcoholics Anonymous
    4. Beyond the Bars
    5. Transformation Project
    6. House of Refuge
    7. Stephen's Table
    8. Art Class

Commissary - The commissary is operated by BVE (Blind Vendor Enterprises) at vendengine.com. Inmates are permitted to order and purchase items from the commissary with the funds being deducted from their accounts. Items available include correspondence material, hygiene items, food products, and clothing items. Provisions are made for indigent inmates to receive basic necessities.

Food Services - Prepares and serves approximately 1,800 meals daily at an average cost of $2.98 per day per inmate. A Health Department dietician approves menus annually. Food Services also provides a variety of medical and religious diets. The kitchen’s bakery makes all bread products fresh daily. Inmate meals are delivered by “hot carts” and consumed in their living areas. Meals are prepared by inmate workers and adhere to Nationally Recommended Dietary Standards.

Health Services - The Hamilton County Jail and Erlanger Hospital have contracted to provide a comprehensive health services program. Professional medical, nursing, and health care services are provided including consultation on the preliminary screening of inmates upon arrival at the jail, a comprehensive health evaluation, sick call, nursing coverage, emergency medical care, medication administration, preventative care, ancillary services, special medical programs and diets, quality assurance program, and medical administrative support. The medical clinic is connected to the Hospital's emergency room by a Telemedicine link as well. A dentist is on site eight hours weekly to provide for dental care of inmates. Mental health services are provided by the Mental Health Cooperative

Maintenance - This service is provided by the county Maintenance Department. Two full time employees provide daily maintenance services to the facility.

Facility Inspections - Copy for T.C.I. - Fire Safety - Maintenance - Cleanliness - etc to express the administration’s concern to run a safe and secure facility.

Quartermaster - This area includes laundry, sanitation services, supply, and inmate property. Our primary concern is providing clean laundry, a clean and safe facility and concern for the security of the inmate’s property.

Disciplinary/Workforce Officer - This officer is responsible for the Inmate Disciplinary process. This includes reviewing all disciplinary reports, inmate rights advisement, conducting disciplinary hearings, briefing results of hearings to the Jail Captain, and preparing and briefing inmate appeals to the disciplinary process. He/she also reviews applications submitted by inmates requesting to participate in the Inmate Workforce Program. He/she coordinates the hiring of all inmates and their work assignments according to Classification, Medical and Case Management. This officer is actively involved in the facility training program.

Inmate Locator

Hamilton County TN Jail publishes the names of their inmates currently in their facility in Tennessee. Your search should start with this locator first to see if your loved one is there.

The second box is the InmateAid Inmate Search. This database of inmates is user-generated content for the purpose of accessing and utilizing any or all of the InmateAid services. If you need our assistance creating your own inmate profile to keep in touch, email us at aid@inmateaid.com and we will assist you in locating your inmate.

As a last resort, you might have to pay for that information if we do not have it. The Arrest Record Search will cost you a small amount, but their data is the freshest available and for that reason they charge to access it.

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Visitation Information

Hamilton County TN Jail - Visitation at 601 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN

  • Monday 9am - 6pm
  • Tuesday 9am - 6pm
  • Wednesday 9am - 6pm
  • Thursday 9am - 6pm
  • Friday 9am - 6pm

All visits are non-contact and conducted through a glass partition. This facility may also have a video visitation option, please call 423-209-7055 for more information and updates to the current rules and regulations.

Inmates are allowed 2 visitors per day

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Facility Type

Hamilton County TN Jail is run by the county sheriff’s department and the prison is run by the state department of corrections. Jail is for inmates who are awaiting time or who have been sentenced to less than a year. Prison is only available for people who have been sentenced to more than a year on any one charge.

Neither prison nor jail is nice but they differ in their levels of security, the programs they have and the quality of the environment. Additionally, an inmate cannot ask for a motion to reconsider once they have been transferred to the custody of the department of corrections.

The Sheriff’s department calculates what percentage of your jail time that you actually have to serve. The law requires that the sheriff’s department make people serve a minimum of 50% of their sentence if they are convicted of a misdemeanor.

The jail will accept inmates from the US Marshal and ICE where space is necessary. In comparison, state prison is for inmates serving lengthier sentences on crimes that are more severe in nature.

The Hamilton Sheriff’s Department calculates what percentage of a felony jail sentence a person will serve. The law requires that an inmate serve at least 85% of their felony jail sentence for non-mandatory time and 100% of their mandatory time.

Hamilton County TN Jail also offers and manages alternatives to jail such as work release programs, work furlough, house arrest, and private county jails where the person convicted can serve their sentences on weekends. Because overcrowding is a problem in both county jail and state prison, both systems operate a good behavior program. Those who are on good behavior can have their sentences reduced or cut.

If you are not serving a mandatory minimum sentence and you do not get into trouble while in jail the sheriff’s department will typically give automatic good behavior time. When you first receive your release date from the jail, within a few days of being incarcerated, the good time deduction will have already been included in most cases. For non-mandatory misdemeanor good time off is 50% and for felonies is typically about 10-15%.

Custody/Security Level

The Hamilton County TN Jail is located in Tennessee and takes in new arrests and detainees are who are delivered daily - call 423-209-7055 for the current roster. Law enforcement and police book offenders from Hamilton County and nearby cities and towns. Some offenders may stay less than one day or only for a few days until they are released in a court proceeding, some after putting up a bond and then are released to a pretrial services caseload under supervision by the court, or are released on their own recognizance with an agreement to appear in court.

The jail is divided into "pods," each of which includes individual cells, common areas, and an outside recreation court — a space bound by towering concrete walls. All meals, are approved by a dietitian. Common area tables are made of solid steel with attached four seats. Inmates crowd around the tables playing cards or board games like chess and checkers. Inside the cells, there is only a sliver of a window allows inmates to peer out. There are two to three inmates per cell, The jail is crowded at about 90 percent capacity and this population varies day-to-day sometimes over-crowded. There are a number of people who arrive at the jail actively or recently drunk or high, or arrive with injuries from fights/assaults that led to their arrest, and/or are mentally ill with no other place for law enforcement to deliver them. This makes the intake process challenging for the jail’s staff and its medical personnel.

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How To Send Things

There are strict procedures for everything related to "sending things to an inmate" in a County - medium facility. This includes sending money for commissary packages, sending mail like letters with photos, magazine subscriptions, buying phone time, postcards and greeting cards, and even distance learning courses (get your degree, you've got a lot of extra time). You also need to know about visitation, what are the hours and rules.

All of the information you could ever need to know is below, patiently scroll the page and get as much information about Hamilton County TN Jail that you'd ever want to know. If there is anything that you were looking for, but don't see, please email us at aid@inmateaid.com.

How To Send Money:

How to Send an Inmate Money in Tennessee

Here are some general guidelines for sending money to an inmate's trust account; but not specific to a particular facility, institution or jail. Inmates need money to access several privileges like weekly shopping at the commissary, making phone calls, using the email service where offered, using the electronic tablets where offered and paying their co-pay when needing the medical or dental services. Some county jails require a per-night fee for the jail’s expenses.

What is a Commissary?

A commissary is a store within the jail. Commissary day is usually held once a week and can only be used if the inmate has funds in their commissary account, like a bank account within the institution. If the inmate has a job, their paycheck is deposited into this account, too.

The Commissary sells various products that the inmates may purchase if they have money on their books. Items sold are clothing, shoes, snacks and food, as well as hygienic products like soap, shampoo, and shavers. The commissary also sells products like books, magazines, televisions, radios, playing cards, headphones, MP3 players, electronic tablets, songs and educational programming. They also sell paper, envelopes, and stamps allowing the inmate to write their loved ones, friends and family. Facilities will provide stamps and paper to inmates who are indigent – eligible where no money has been in their commissary account for at least 30 days.

How you send money to an inmate?

Sending money to an inmate varies from state to state, depending if it is county, state or federal, their ways of accepting money for inmates’ changes by the money transfer company they’ve contracted with. Federal Prisons and some state-level prisons have centralized banking systems which means that you do not need to know where they are specifically, just that they are in the state systems of for instance the California, Texas, Florida DOC or the FBOP to name a few.

How do I send money using MoneyGram?

Some facilities will allow you to deposit cash through the lobby window stand-alone kiosk in the lobby or visitation room. Most facilities will also accept a postal money order mailed to the institution’s inmate mailing address made payable to the full inmate’s name.

Electronic banking allows friends and family members to send the funds online, and correctional departments are starting to favor this method because it is less work for staff and more accurate/easier to keep track of, as well as being more convenient.

Regardless of the method of sending funds, there are several key things you will need to know:
• Inmate’s full committed name
• Inmate’s ID number
• Inmate’s location – or a system like the federal BOP

Before sending any funds you should find out what online transfer companies the institution your inmate is incarcerated in uses. You can find this information on our site by navigating to the facilities page click on the Money Transfer button under the address and phone number.

Pay close attention to the rules of the facility. Sometimes they will require money senders are on the inmate's visitation list. Some correctional facilities have a deposit limit, like $200-300 at a time, but in federal, there is no limit.

MoneyGram, JPay, OffenderConnect, AccessCorrections, JailATM, WU, Touchpayonline, tigercommissary, smartdeposit are some of the money transfer firms being used by various facilities. MoneyGram is by far the oldest and most trusted.

Who else can access the money you send?

An inmate with fines or restitution will be subject to commissary/trust account garnishment. If the inmate has these financial obligations, they will be extracted from the inmate’s bank account. It may be a percentage or the entire amount depending on the situation. We recommend inmates who are going into their bid contact the counselor and make an arrangement beforehand. If you go in knowing they are taking 20-25% of all deposits is better than have them take it all and you find out in the commissary line when the account is zero.

Why is my inmate asking for more than I normally send?

This is generally a signal that the inmate is doing something they shouldn’t and need money to get them out of or through a situation. It could be gambling, it could be extortion it could be other things you don’t need to know on this forum (for now). Set boundaries with your inmate. Tell them that “this is the amount I can send each month” and that is it. There are no extras beyond the boundary. Also, NEVER send money to the account of another inmate on your inmate’s instruction. This is a sign that something is not right. If the corrections people discover this, and they do more times than not, it will result in some severe disciplinary action to the inmate, and certainly the loss of all privileges.

Who can I call if I suspect something?

We recommend speaking with the counselor or case manager of the facility and use a generic reference in the event that your suspicions are wrong. You needn’t put them in a more difficult position if they are.

Inmate Care Packages:

How to Buy Inmate Commissary Care Packages Online

Show your loved one how much you care – order a package today! The facilities usually have a weekly limit of about $100 per inmate, plus processing and tax. The orders do NOT count towards the inmates weekly commissary allowances Deposits can be made online for inmates 24/7 using a credit/debit card

There are also a few services that allow you how to order inmate commissary online. These trusted providers are approved and share revenue with the prisons from the sales to the inmates.

Here is a list of other similar programs prison commissary: Keefe Group, Access Securpak, iCareGifts, Union Supply Direct, Walkenhorst's, CareACell

Inmate Commissary:

What is Inmate Commissary?

Prison commissary (also sometimes referred to as inmate canteen) is a store for inmates housed within a correctional facility. While the very most basics may be provided for by a given correctional department, there are also other important goods/services that Florida prisoners and inmates must buy. For instance, supplies such as supplementary food, female hygiene products, books, writing utensils and a plethora of other things are examples of things that can be purchased as part of an inmate commissary packages for goods.

What is an Inmate trust account?

When you add money to an inmate account, the prison funds are stored on an inmate trust fund. This prison account basically acts as a personal bank account of an inmate. They will use this account to make Inmate Calls, pay for postage to Send Photos from Inmates, send emails from inmates, purchase Items from Commissary, receive wages from jobs, and more.

How To Send Mail:

This is how to send your inmate at Hamilton County TN Jail letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards and magazines

Incoming and outgoing inmate mail is subject to inspection for the presence of contraband that might threaten the safety, security or well-being of the jail/facility, its staff, and residents. Inmates may receive only metered, unstamped, plain white postcards no larger than 4" x 6" as mail. Writing must be in pencil or blue or black ink. Any other mail will be returned to the sender. If no return address is available, unauthorized mail will be stored in the inmate's locker until the inmate's release.

Inmate mail cannot contain any of the following: Create an immediate threat to jail order by describing the manufacture of weapons, bombs, incendiary devices, or tools for escape that realistically are a danger to jail security; Advocate violence, racial supremacy or ethnic purity; No current inmate-to-inmate mail will be allowed and will be destroyed.

The easiest workaround is to look over the mailing services of InmateAid. We have an automated system for sending your loved one that special message or picture. We send thousands of pieces of mail per month with NO issues with the prisons or jails. The envelopes display the InmateAid logo, the mail room knows for certain that the contents will not be compromising. This trust was established in 2012.

How To Send Greeting Cards and Postcards:

Greeting cards are great for the holidays and birthdays. The ones from the store often have more than just the message because the policies surrounding appropriate content (no nudity or sexually suggestive material no matter how funny), and they cannot have glitter, stickers or anything else that makes the card different from a normal plain old card. Instead of going to the Hallmark store in the mall and looking around for hours - go to our easy to search Greeting Cards service.

It takes literally 45 seconds and it's very affordable for what you're getting (and what they are getting, too!). Select from 100s of birthday, anniversary and every holiday you can think of, and VERY easy to send from your phone on InmateAid:

Don't forget Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Year's, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Passover, Easter, Kwanzaa or Valentine's Day!

In less than a minute and only $0.99, this act of kindness will be worth a million to your inmate. If you have a picture or two and don't want to write a long letter. Type out a little love in the message box and send your latest selfie... only 99 cents!

Don't wait until the moment has passed, it's easy and convenient to let them know you're thinking of them at every moment.

How To Send magazines and Books:

Send magazines to Hamilton County TN Jail at 601 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN

Send the best magazines and books to your Inmate in jail or prison, it's the gift that keeps on giving all year round, There is nothing more exciting to an inmate (besides their release date) than getting their favorite magazine every month at mail call.

Magazines and books must come directly from the publisher. You are not allowed to send single magazines in an envelope. They need to come directly from the publisher with your inmate's name affixed to the address label. Magazine subscriptions are easy to set up, it takes literally 2 minutes.

You know when you go into the grocery and browse the new magazines on display? You see hundreds. Inside they place a little card that if you fill it out and send it in with your inmate's name, ID number and facility address - you drop it in the mail and in 8-12 weeks your inmate gets an issue every month for a whole year. Thankfully, there is an easier way, just CLICK here and browse yourself. Select a title or two and add your inmate's name to the order. It's fast, it's reliable and it's at a discounted rate for your convenience.

How To Save Money on Inmate Calls

The prison phone companies have a monopoly at the facility they have a contract with. Profits are shared so there is no incentive for their representatives to show you how to save money. They post their rates and in almost every case, there are at least two pricing tiers. Depending on where you are and where your inmate is, the type of phone number you use will make all the difference.

In federal prison, the answer is simply that a new local number will change your inmate's call rate from $.21 per minute to only $.06 per minute. Fed gives you only 300 minutes per month, the local line service is only $5.00, no hidden fees or bundling of other unwanted service charges

For the other facilities that are not federal, it used to be that a local number was the answer. Now, its market intelligence and InmateAid has made it their business to know what the best deal is in every scenario. And we can tell you that in 30% of the cases, we cannot save you a penny - and neither can anyone else. But we will give you a refund if we can't save you money.

For more specific information on inmate calls, you will want to navigate to the facility your inmate is incarcerated in through our site by going to Prison Directory and following the links to the Discount Telephone Service - get an honest estimate before you buy.

Ask The Inmate

Ask a former inmate questions at no charge. The inmate answering has spent considerable time in the federal prison system, state and county jails, and in a prison that was run by the private prison entity CCA. Ask your question or browse previous questions in response to comments or further questions of members of the InmateAid community.

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