Shelby County system changes bring no commissary, problems for bail bondsmen

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Complaints continue to build as the Shelby County courts and jails work through a system change.

The new system was supposed to be ready to go by Monday evening and now there seems to be no final date in sight.

Sylvester Crawford walked out of jail on Friday frustrated.

“Terrible, worst experience I’ve ever had before in my life," said Crawford.

He said he was picked up on a warrant and was told he’d spend a day in jail, but that day turned into eight.

"I was down in intake for two days sitting in a chair eating bologna sandwiches," he said.

Many defendants slept on the floor instead of in those chairs.

The Sheriff’s Office said doing so is their choice, while they chose to temporarily shut down commissary as the systems get figured out.

“It’s pretty bad," said Crawford. "It’s backed up. Everybody in there, just they're working people harder than they have to work.”

Another business impacted is bail bondsmen.

Many anonymously told us they’ve had trouble finding inmates bond information and court dates.

“It’s definitely, in my opinion, unorganized and it’s difficult for the public because they depend on us to get information for their friends and relatives," said one bondsman.

He said their communication with the clerk’s office has been limited.

And said in some cases, inmates go to court before bond is posted and they’re not able to give the refunds they’re supposed to, making their paperwork pile up.

"We’re certainly over the worst part," said Ed Raper with information technology. "I think the peak of this was about three days ago or so and I’ve seen a lot of improvement.”

Raper said they have multiple command centers working around the clock to solve these issues, and hopes next week comes with less complaints.

The chief jailer told WREG they weren’t expecting this transition to come with so many problems.

No one can tell us yet when the system should be fully up and running, but are asking for people to be patient.

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