Families worried about loved ones spending Thanksgiving in jail after computer problems

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The problems at the jails and courts in Shelby County have some families worried about Thanksgiving. Issues with a new computer system have left some inmates behind bars days after posting bail.

There's no shortage of stories about harsh conditions inside the Shelby County Jail.

"He said they have people laying pretty much everywhere, got them locked up in the gym where they're using the bathroom out the door because of the space," said one Memphis mom about her son who's currently locked up.

She asked to stay anonymous but said her son has been in there since the beginning of the month. His court date got pushed back and he may spend the holidays behind bars.

"He says everything about this is horrible so his experience being here," she said. "He definitely won't be back again."

County officials said they're working to make sure no one's unreasonably kept there -- something that's already been a reported issue.

"This is no way to treat someone who's guilty or innocent, and I should remind everyone that anyone in that jail has not been found guilty of anything to this point," said Josh Speckler, executive director for Just City.

Just City is suing the county and sheriff over the recent complaints. They have one named plaintiff, but they said more are coming forward to join.

"I think it should say that we're not going to tolerate this type of treatment in our community," said Speckler.

Although court will be closed for the holiday, the Clerk's Office and pretrial services will be running. That means inmates should receive a bond amount after their arrest, no matter what day it is.

IT employees will be scaled back for the holiday, but administrators tell WREG there will be some available 24/7.

They hope it will be enough to keep the problems to a minimum.


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