Committee Votes To Extend Dept. Of Correction Two Years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In a move to put pressure on and spur change within Tennessee Department Of Correction (TDOC) a state house committee passed a bill to extend the department for just two years.

House bill 1623 allows a two year extension, of what's typically four years, with the expectation the state comptroller office will begin another audit of TDOC in fall of this year.

The department came under scrutiny following last year's audit that uncovered issues at two CoreCivic facilities in Tennessee.

At the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Hardeman County and Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Trousdale County staffing issues, including "critical posts" being left unattended, were found in a multi-month audit.

Staff at both facilities had incomplete records of staffing and some days were left completely blank on staffing sheets. Also, some staff members were working shifts as long as 16 hours.

In November, lawmakers questioned TDOC officials about oversight of the private prison contractor.

On Monday, the House Government Operations Committee heard more testimony asking for a shorter extension for TDOC while they work to improve oversight of CoreCivic. After an hour and half of discussion, the bill passed through committee and is now heading to the full house for a vote.

The state senate has a different bill with a four year extension. State representative Jeremy Faison said he believes the house and the senate may clash over the issue of how long a TDOC extension should be.

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