Sheriff's officials say the inmates confined the guard and escaped late Tuesday night by pushing a button in the jail control room that opened an outside door.
One inmate was arrested Wednesday morning at a house in Morristown, authorities said. The others who escaped from Hamblen County Jail, about 40 miles northeast of Knoxville, remained at large Wednesday.
Authorities say all of the men are repeat offenders, but most were in jail on misdemeanors and none were considered dangerous.
There were 69 inmates in the 32-bed dormitory-style annex where the inmates overpowered the guard. But 62 inmates decided not to take flight, Chief Deputy Wayne Mize said.
"They're smart enough to put their time in and put it behind them rather than add an escape charge," Mize said.
Mize blamed severe overcrowding and design flaws for making it easier for inmate to escape. The jail is licensed for 197 inmates. On Wednesday morning it was holding 296.
"Just the fact that they're in there under terrible conditions makes them want to leave more than they ordinarily would," Mize said.
The jailer attacked by inmates, Josh Petit, suffered abrasions and a swollen hand. He was treated and released.
Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2007, 01:07