Independent audit will review staffing, violence at prisons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield says he has asked for an independent audit of Tennessee’s prisons after complaints from current and former employees that violence is on the rise.

In a hearing before a Senate subcommittee on Thursday, some employees blamed an unpopular new work schedule for staffing shortages that they said have made the prisons more dangerous. They also said wardens were being pressured into classifying violent assaults as nonviolent incidents in order to make it look as though prisons are safer than they actually are.

Schofield agreed that classifications have changed, but he said the changes have made the violence statistics more accurate.

Nonetheless, Schofield said, he has asked the American Correctional Association, which accredits Tennessee prisons to review security, staffing and vacancies, and incident reporting.