Local officials gather at former NECC Carter County annex to tour potential rehabilitation work camp site

Published 5:20 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

With a vision of rehabilitation instead of incarceration, Carter County officials on Friday led a tour at a facility they hope will one day house a transitional training program for drug offenders.

“This is a great project for not only our community, but for various other areas across the First Tennessee Development District,” said State Senator Rusty Crowe. “What we are trying to do by hosting the tour today is to get our officials on board and see that this is an investment in our future.”

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Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby, Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander, Senator Crowe, and several commissioners and mayors of nearby counties gathered in Roan Mountain at the former site of the Northeast Correctional Center’s Carter County annex to tour the facility and discuss plans for a proposed rehabilitative work site for drug offenders.

The facility in Roan Mountain, which is now vacant, contains 180 beds and would be largely beneficial to many recovering addicts by not only serving as a rehabilitation center, but also an area where those individuals can work with TCAT to learn trades and skills to turn their lives around.

While media was not allowed inside to record or take pictures, Woodby and Crowe held an informational session at the Carter County Courthouse afterward.

“The hope is that instead of incarceration, we can focus on rehabilitation,” Woodby said. “We want to help the families in our community that have been ravaged by meth addiction. It is something that seems to be tearing families apart in our rural communities.”

And while the complex will be in Carter County, Woodby said it would serve the region.

“This is a regional approach that allows eight counties an opportunity to have a facility where we can help rehabilitate individuals from a 12- to 18-month time frame,” Woodby said.

Crowe said that from a state perspective, funding and support are likely. The key step will be getting support from other counties.

Woodby said that Judge Stacy Street and Judge Lisa Rice have played a huge part in the process, as the 1st Judicial District Criminal Court judges have pushed for a program like this.

Woodby said that in the next couple of months, hopes that conversations to move forward with the idea will be made and that the site in Roan Mountain can begin operation in 2023.