NEWS RELEASE: Criminal Justice Advocate Alex Friedmann Arrested

The criminal justice advocate and managing editor of Prison Legal News charged with attempted burglary for actions at the new Downtown Detention Center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced Sunday Alex Friedmann, 50, a longtime criminal justice advocate and managing editor of Prison Legal News is free on bond after being charged with attempted burglary, evidence tampering, and possession of burglary tools. He was arrested Saturday at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) Downtown Detention Center (DDC) after entering the building fraudulently. The newly constructed, 762-bed, maximum security facility is in its final stages of completion and does not currently house inmates.

On Monday, December 30, DCSO lieutenants were in the DDC control room and noticed a set of keys with a ring that looked different from the others. After an audit, it was confirmed two facility keys were missing. Upon reviewing video surveillance, an individual dressed like a construction worker wearing a yellow vest and dust mask and matching the description of Friedmann, was seen spray painting around the key control room door. He entered the room and placed a key ring in his pocket, left the DDC through the front lobby, returned two hours later, and replaced the keys, again with two missing. It was also discovered he previously entered the building under false pretenses on at least three other occasions.

At approximately 1 p.m. Saturday, deputies monitoring the DDC cameras noticed an individual entering DDC who matched the description of the suspect from the December 30 incident. The individual, later determined to be Friedmann, was detained in an area of the DDC until Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers arrived. An igloo cooler Friedmann carried into the facility contained bolt cutters, a key chit (used in corrections as a security measure to identify keys), and a document identified as schematics of the DDC. Friedman was also seen on video trying to destroy this document by “ripping it and chewing it up” according to the affidavit.

“The seriousness of Mr. Friedmann’s charges cannot be ignored. His actions have placed the safety and security of our entire community in peril, not to mention DCSO staff and inmates,”Hall said. “There are many items of value in a $200 million facility that can be stolen if your motivation is profit. There is only one reason for these sinister acts and that is to compromise our ability to maintain a secure facility and that is unconscionable and dangerous for everyone.”

The investigation is ongoing and DCSO will continue to work in cooperation with MNPD.


Editor’s Note: Security surveillance video will not be released in accordance with state law.