Rhea County officials, along with the sheriff’s department, have a problem on their hands with an overcrowded jail and growing concern for safety of jail staff and inmates. The jail has 87 beds for prisoners but as of today (Tuesday, June 26, 2017) there are just over 200 inmates being held in the jail. In the women’s holding area, there is currently just over 50 inmates with only 12 beds. The overcrowding has resulted in lowering bonds for some prisoners and releasing some arrested on minor misdemeanors but the growing crime rate and arrests replenished the ones let out. The state fire marshal’s office has got involved ordering the county, like others in the past in the area, to formulate a plan to correct the problem or face decertification. The county has hired a new jail project manager and the old hospital location on Highway 27 in Dayton is being considered. County officials say once a new and larger jail is built, the state department of corrections will pay Rhea County to house some state prisoners.