Last week, Macon County Jail Administrator Judy Blankenship was asked leave her position as the administrator and was reassigned to the jail clerk.
Sheriff Joe Ferguson spoke on this matter last week. He said, "There comes a time to make changes. In most respects, Judy has done an outstanding job, but in others she is too relaxed." He stated that he has discussed his concerns about the jail with Judy in the past. He said that those concerns have not improved. He stated, "Some of the inmates are not happy, but they don't operate the jail."
Judy, who has been the jail administrator since the new justice center opened, will now hold the position of jail clerk. Sheriff Ferguson stated that he felt Judy was happy with the change. Blankenship declined to comment on the situation.
Sheriff Ferguson would not comment on who the new jail administrator would be. Sources close to the justice center have named Brad Murphy, former probation officer, as the new administrator.
The Macon County Times first received this news when it received several letters from female inmates stating "they feel the county has made a huge mistake".
Inmate Shannon Gibbs said, "I am currently incarcerated in the Macon County Jail. I was informed Thursday, April 21, that Mrs. Judy Blankenship was given a two week notice to change her job position from jail administrator of five years to Tomis Clerk." Gibbs stated that she was a state inmate who had requested that she be moved from Wilson County. Gibbs stated that she was not offered any rehabilitation or any type of help to make herself a better person until she met Blankenship. Gibbs said, "She encouraged me to get my GED and to go to church, so I can put my life on the right path. I completed my GED test this past Saturday. On her day off, Mrs. Judy transported myself and three other females to take this test. She has been a role model, an encourager, and most of all she has been a friend."
Inmate Toni Long said, "We feel the county is making a huge mistake by demoting Mrs. Judy Blankenship."
Kayla McDonald said, " Ms. Judy has been my friend when I had no one else to turn to."
Sheriff Ferguson would not comment on these letters only saying that the inmates do not run the jail. He also stated that the jail would see other changes in the next weeks including shift changes and changes in shift supervisors.