CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee Department of Correction responds to claims made by the 8th Judicial District Attorney General Jared Effler, who recently criticized, “prison parties for inmates.”
According to DA Effler, “I simply cannot fathom the anguish of losing a loved one to such a horrific death. Though we seek justice for victims like these, nothing the State of Tennessee can do will ever heal the hurt that these families will feel for the rest of their lives. We can, however, seek to protect these victims from further pain, harassment, and abuse inflicted by the criminal justice system itself.”
Legislation introduced, HB2653/SB2534 seeks to do prevent public dissemination of “prison party” photos, Effler said in a statement.
Monday, TDOC released the following statement:
It is important to understand that visitation, which the referenced photos are being taken, is not an ‘event’ and there are certainly no parties taking place during visitation. Visitation is simply and exactly what it sounds like; a time for family and loved ones of offenders to visit them at the facility where they are housed. It is a generally subdued occurrence within a modest and structured environment. The claim that there are “pictures of parties” that are being conducted or “hosted” by the Tennessee Department of Correction at “taxpayer expense’ is blatantly false; nothing could be further from the truth. There is no such thing as monthly parties in state prisons. What our policy allows is an opportunity for family reunification for offenders as they prepare to return home. In accordance with policy, inmate photographs may be taken on officially designated holidays, in the main visiting gallery (which means not ALL offenders are afforded this opportunity) by designated staff. Visitation is a required standard by the American Correctional Association and a practice that our department has had in place for many years. Allowing children of incarcerated parents and other family members to take occasional photographs with their loved ones supports efforts toward building families and reducing recidivism. Evidence shows that when an offender has strong and supportive family ties upon release, he or she is more likely to be successful when they return home.