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Despite Data, Tennessee Not Declaring Prison Emergency

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Posted at 7:41 AM, Aug 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 16:51:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee prison system is at a capacity level that could allow the governor to declare an overcrowding emergency, giving him and other state officials the power to reduce the number of inmates to a lower level, according to data.

As of June 30, the prison system was operating at 98.5 percent capacity, with 95.1 percent of total beds filled. State law says if the in-house prison capacity exceeds 95 percent for more than 30 days, the commissioner can ask the governor to declare an overcrowding emergency.

Tennessee Department of Corrections spokeswoman Neysa Taylor says the department isn't required to declare an emergency based on current data.

Gov. Bill Haslam has said recently that prisons should operate near full capacity.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)