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VOL. 40 | NO. 40 | Friday, September 30, 2016

Leaders of Tennessee Prison for Women on leave amid probe

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NASHVILLE (AP) - The three top wardens at the Tennessee Prison for Women have been placed on leave while state officials investigate possible protocol violations at the Nashville facility.

Warden Carolyn Jordan, Associate Warden Pat Ryan and Associate Warden Carolyn Benford have all left the state's largest prison for women within the last week, The Tennessean reported (http://tnne.ws/2du5Lmy).

Officials are looking into possible issues with the "enforcement of TDOC processes and protocols," Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor said in an email.

Concerns have been raised about the wardens' leadership, Taylor said. She said the wardens are on either administrative or medical leave, but declined to give further details until the investigation is complete.

Alex Friedmann, a former inmate who is now the associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, called on new Commissioner Tony Parker to be more forthcoming w ith what is going on.

"The entire administrative leadership at the Tennessee Prison for Women being placed on leave while the TDOC evaluates 'their effectiveness in their current roles' is an unusual development that merits the release of more detailed information," he said. "The public deserves to know what is happening within our state prison system, and what processes or protocols are not being adequately followed by TDOC employees."

More information could be available in the next few days, Taylor said.

Deborah Johnson, the correctional administrator who oversees the four public prisons in Middle Tennessee, is currently leading the facility, which had 814 inmates as of Aug. 31.

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