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Lawmakers irked at state corrections in private prison probe

November 15, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have criticized state corrections officials after an audit found some private prisons were understaffed and their staffing information at times was incorrect or withheld.

After a round of questioning Wednesday, a state legislative panel voted to temporarily delay reauthorizing the Department of Correction, calling for officials first to testify again next month about CoreCivic’s prison contracts.

The comptroller’s audit found Trousdale Turner Correctional Center and Whiteville Correctional Facility were consistently short-staffed, including in correctional officers.

Corrections Commissioner Tony Parker said Trousdale is doing what it can about staffing issues, including correctional officer pay increases.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison said the failures are egregious to Tennesseans and people in prisons.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said corrections officials haven’t investigated enough about whether problems go beyond the audit.

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