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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New Report on the Local Burden of Housing State Prisoners in County Jails

TACIR has completed its report on the financial burden and other effects on county governments from housing state prisoners in county jails, prepared at the request of commission members at the May 2016 meeting.

This report revisits the 2007 report Beyond Capacity: Issues and Challenges Facing County Jails.  TACIR staff conducted a examining the number of state prisoners being held in county jails and whether the number is increasing, capacities and overcrowded conditions in county jails, the cost borne by counties for medical care (including addiction treatment) of state prisoners held in county jails, whether the current amount the state reimburses a county for housing a state prisoner is reasonable, how the state chooses which prisoners are left in county jails, how state prisoners are assigned jobs like cooking or laundry service, and contractual obligations and limitations to housing state prisoners in prisons operated for counties by private contractors.

The final report suggests three recommendations:

First, Tennessee could improve access to the behavioral health services provided by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ criminal justice liaison program by expanding the program statewide.

Second, Tennessee could target funding to improve outcomes by providing financial assistance to counties to help implement programs proven to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for prisoners and communities, rather than only increasing per diem reimbursements to cover basic costs.

Finally, because adequate oversight and regulation of local jails is necessary for the state to balance its need for fiscally responsible management of the felon population with the responsibility to achieve the best prisoner and public safety outcomes, state law should be amended to give the Tennessee Corrections Institute clear legal authority to require local correctional facilities to comply with set standards, including authority for its Board Control to recommend that the Tennessee Department of Correction remove state prisoners from noncertified jails when conditions warrant.

This report is available on the Internet at http://www.tn.gov/tacir/topic/tacirpublications-by-date.

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