Every year the Tennessee Department of Corrections compiles a wide variety of statistics relevant to the state’s prison system. Those statistics are then released in the form of a year-end report. The report gives us some idea who is housed in the state’s prison system, why they are there, and how the statewide prisoner population compares to the prior year. A Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney from Bennett, Michael & Hornsby has put together some highlights of the 2018 report.
At the end of Fiscal Year 2018, the Tennessee Department of Correction supervised 107,503 convicted felons. The incarcerated felon population at the end of Fiscal Year 2018 was 30,799 inmates, housed in 14 prisons, ten operated by TDOC and four operated by CoreCivic. In addition, a portion of these convicted felons are also housed in local jails across the state. The Community Supervision system, consisting of probationers, parolees, and community corrections’ agencies, supervised another 76,704 felons in the community. Prison admissions increased by only 1 and releases increased by 423 (3.2 percent) from FY 2017 to FY 2018.
What Does It Cost to House Tennessee’s Prisoners?
Total funding budget for the Department of Correction in FY 2018 was $1,010,247,500, which is 3% of the total State of Tennessee budget of $34,781,555,200. Out of that $1 billion, $378,865,900 was spent on payroll and another $167,039,200 was spent on privately operated facilities.
Who Is Housed In Tennessee’s Prisons?
Over the past 10 fiscal years (2009 – 2018), the felon inmate population (including TDOC backup and locally sentenced felons) has increased 12.3 percent (from 27,414 to 30,799). During the past fiscal year, the total incarcerated felon population increased from 30,654 on June 30, 2017 to 30,799 on June 30, 2018, an increase of less than 0.5 percent. The TDOC recognizes four classifications of prisons based on the level of security at the facility. For 2018, the breakdown of prisoners by security level of the facility is as follows:
- Maximum – 510
- Close – 883
- Medium – 17,356
- Minimum — 2,999
- Unclassified — 490
The female felon inmate population increased 4.4 percent from FY 2017 to FY 2018. The male felon inmate population basically remained the same, with a decrease of only 3 inmates. Male inmates accounted for 88.7 percent of the population with females accounting for just 11.3 percent. White inmates represented 57.6 percent of the total with black inmates accounting for 40 percent and the remaining 2.4 percent classified as “other.”
Average age 38.9 with 552 inmates over 65 and 12 under the age of 18. The largest cohort is the 35 to 39-year-old category with 3,709 inmates, followed very closely by the 30 to 34 age group with 3,671 inmates.
Inmates by Offense
The report provides a detailed list of all offense classifications with the corresponding number of inmates convicted of that offense, the percentage of the statewide population, and average sentence. Some of the more well-known offenses include:
Offense Type # Inmates % of Population Average Sentence
Murder 4,024 13.1 27.3
Kidnapping 306 1 18.8
Sex Offenses 3,034 9.9 25.2/7.9 (forcible vs. non-forcible)
Aggravated Assault 3,933 12.8 12.9
Burglary 3,138 10.2 8.3
Aggravated Robbery 2,504 8.1 16.8
Drug Offenses 4,589 14.9 9.2
During 2018, there were 1,957 weapons offenses, 1,773 drug offenses and 1,310 incidences of reported sexual misconduct within Tennessee prisons. There were also 435 reported assaults on offenders and 467 assaults on staff. Finally, there was one accidental death, 102 natural deaths and 12 prisoners who committed suicide within Tennessee’s prisons in 2018.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney
If you (or a loved one) have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.
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