Thursday, July 27

Excursus from Federal Fascism: Outing Tennessee’s Department of Corrections

The chronic incompetence of state agencies bordering fraud—which is normative rather than exceptional among state governments—piss me off second only to the intentional fascist criminality of the Bush White House.

Needless to say, I remain in a perpetual state of post-9/11 chronic pissed-offed-ness.

As an independent researcher/writer, I regularly see online state-level data unable to stand up to Bullshit Sniff and DNA Progeny tests that, when jointly considered, suggest state governments’ incorrigible public relations spin just might reflect a congenital condition, i.e., the result of protracted sexual liaisons among very close relatives.

Consider the wording in this study sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC). It’s taken from a passage of an online report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on inmate “failure rates” from 1989-1991, i.e., inmates released to the community who were “either recommitted or rearrested within two years” after their prison release date.

Consistent with prior findings by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, data continue to indicate that parolees fail at higher rates than probationers do, and probationers at higher rates than felons who [complete]their sentences. These differences can be explained in part by the return of parolees and probationers on technical violations of the conditions of their release.

Excuse me? Haven't you just told me that parolees and probationers (who, incidentally, have not been committed to prison) were violated and shipped off to prison by their respective parole and probationer officers for technical rather than criminal violations “of the conditions of their release”?

Beneath the sloppy prose lurks evidence of ego-driven community corrections officers who cost Tennessee taxpayers by violating former prisoners on flimsy grounds? It’s probably equally bad in other states, right?

Over the course of looking into more TDOC data, I found another, even more serious, anomaly; I need additional time to assess the details.

TDOC has one of the worst reputations among all of the nation’s state agencies. Perhaps you remember from the 1970s TDOC senior officials were implicated with the governor in selling pardons to state prisoners. When the scandal broke, at least one whistleblower died in a Nashville hotel room. Hollywood made a movie about one of the whistleblowers that lived played by Sissy Spasek.

"So it goes," wrote novelist Kurt Vonnegut.

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