Tennessee sheriff, top deputy accused of 'loaning out' inmates for chore work, not keeping tabs on them

A Tennessee sheriff and his top deputy are facing misconduct charges Friday after a state investigation revealed they allowed inmates to be “loaned out” to help county employees with chores at their personal properties -- among other damning allegations.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jimmy Brown, 71, and Captain Adam Brewer, 40, who were taken into custody Tuesday, were hit with charges ranging from Use of Inmate Labor for Personal Gain to Tampering with Evidence.

"Our investigation determined that a Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) inmate housed in the Lawrence County Jail was being ‘loaned out’ to sheriff department management and staff to help with chores at their personal property for things such as cleaning, repair work, lawn care, and painting," the state’s comptroller said in a report issued Thursday, analyzing instances between 2015 and 2017. "Additionally, we noted non-TDOC inmates were also 'loaned out.'"

The investigative report – done with the help of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation -- also says inmates in the jail’s voluntary work release program "were not properly supervised."

"Instead, some of these inmates were dropped off at public locations and only checked on when the supervising individual had time," it added. "In some of these instances, we determined that inmates were visited by their family, friends, or girlfriends, some with contraband."

Brown also is accused of exceeding his authority and violating the law "by releasing defendants on their own recognizance or on a signature bond without the proper order."

In another alleged misdeed, Brewer, who indicated on his timesheet that he was working on a Friday in September 2016, was actually taking a personal trip to Florida with his county-owned vehicle, toll camera and license plate data showed.

Brown’s bond has been set at $25,000, while Brewer’s is $5,000, Fox 17 News reported. Both men are currently being held in familiar territory -- their own county’s jail.