The Tennessee Department of Correction supervises more than 20,000 inmates and employs more than 5,000 people. There are 14 prisons in the state system, three of which are managed privately. Female inmates are housed in two prisons, one in Nashville and the other in Memphis. Male inmates are housed in the 12 other prisons located across the state. Inmates in need of acute or continuing medical care are housed at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville.
On January 7, 2011, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Derrick D. Schofield as the new Commissioner of the Department of Correction. Schofield previously served as Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the Georgia Department of Corrections.
The Tennessee Department of Correction continues to be one of a few states to maintain its national accredited status by the American Correctional Association.
In 2005, the department implemented two transition communities within our prisons which are designed to gradually prepare offenders to live successfully in a free world. They were a direct outgrowth of a previously federally funded reentry initiative that took place in 2002. Statistics show that 97% of all inmates eventually leave prison.
In 2009, the department implemented the Joint Offender Management Plan (JOMP) in partnership with the Board of Probation and Parole as a way to improve offender accountability, lower recidivism through more effective management of offenders, produce safer communities and save taxpayer dollars.
All Tennessee inmates are required to work or attend school during their incarceration. The overall goal is to assist them in learning a marketable skill to be used upon their release. Nearly a thousand inmates work in the state's prison industry program known as TRICOR. The remaining inmates work in support service roles throughout the institutions or participate in community work crews that assist neighboring communities. Since 1998, TDOC work crews have performed more than 17.5 million hours of community service. In fiscal year 2009-2010, 2,295 inmates obtained their GED or vocational certificates.
It's important to note that juvenile offenders in Tennessee, with the exception of those who are sentenced as adults, are supervised by the Department of Children's Services. The Tennessee Department of Correction oversees those inmates who have been granted parole, as well as those who have been sentenced to probation in Tennessee.
The department has also been recognized nationally for its cost savings measures in recycling and its unique management organization of death row.