State Department of Corrections Holds Training on Public Engagement at University of Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) said it trained last week at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville on how to engage with the public.

“TDOC’s Communications team is participating in an intensive, week-long training session at the The University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC), where we’re learning how to better inform, engage, and educate the public about the true mission of corrections.” TDOC said on Facebook. “We’re looking forward to being back in full force next week, bringing you industry best practices to better serve you!”

“We envision Tennessee as a global leader with thriving business and industry, efficient and effective government, and vibrant communities,” according to the University’s Institute of Public Service website. “At the Institute for Public Service we value people, diversity, relationships, integrity, and excellence.”

TDOC has faced scrutiny this year after a number of mishaps.

Most recently, a woman was charged with murder after she smuggled drugs into a TDOC facility. The person to whom she smuggled those drugs then died of an overdose.

“This incident points to the real dangers of introducing contraband into prisons and the consequences that follow,” Director of TDOC’s Office of Investigations and Conduct David Imhof said in a statement at the time. “Our agency will pursue prosecution against any individual who threatens the safety and security of our staff, the men and women in our custody, and our facilities.”

Earlier in the year, two women escaped from a halfway-house program meant to help inmates reintegrate into civilian life.

In June, Katelyn Standifer, 26, who was serving a three-year sentence for theft, and Ashley Wardlaw, 36, who was serving a four-year sentence for theft, escaped from the Chattanooga Release Center.

TDOC told The Tennessee Star that the incident was “under review,” but never released further details.

Before that, TDOC employees were charged with assualt after using unlawful force against inmates, as reported by The Star at the time.

“The Department of Justice announced that Javian Griffin, 36, and Sebron Hollands, 32, two former tactical officers with the Strike Force for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Memphis, Tennessee,” a DOJ press release from the incident said. “Griffin is charged with using unlawful force against an inmate at Northwest Correctional Complex. Griffin and Hollands are both charged with obstruction of justice for writing false reports about Griffin’s assault.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “University of Tennessee, Knoxville” by University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


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2 Thoughts to “State Department of Corrections Holds Training on Public Engagement at University of Tennessee”

  1. Joe Blow

    I sure hope that punishment for a crime does not lose out to political correctness. We see how that has worked for New York.

  2. william r. delzell

    Will this training provide REAL “give-and-take” among the state’s citizens, or is it simply a P.R. propaganda scheme to promote a punitive criminal justice agenda?