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Following are articles submitted to our site by inmates who are incarcerated within the Tennessee
Department of Correction. As a member of the "freeworld" I'm quite aware that the public hears only
the political side and stories that our governor and officials from the Department of Correction allow
you. For those of you who do not have a loved one in prison, we especially want you to hear the
views from the inside. These articles are inspired by the TRUE Department of Correction, the inmates.
Until you've walked a mile in their shoes, don't begrudge them their right to tell you what it's really all
about. There is more than one side to the story. Welcome to it.

The Accomplice
Authors of the following articles will remain anonymous as to protect his/her self from retaliation by prison officials. The
idea to hold anonymity is by choice of the UNFORGIVEN, not the author or contributor to the site. Upon permission by
inmates or contributors, we will later publish all names of those who have submitted their articles or crafts for public view.
Recently there have been reports in the media regarding the subject of prison rehabilitation and
recidivism that has caused me great concern. As a convicted felon presently housed within the Tennessee
Department of Corrections, I am becoming increasingly aware that the Department of Correction is no longer
condemned with the principle of rehabilitation or in assisting with personal reform of the incarcerated individual
and is content with rebuilding the ticking time bomb that corrections once was.

To illustrate my point, it is necessary to revisit the difficult times of the eighties. Tennessee's problems
with prison overcrowding began with the Lamar Alexander administration, who for political reasons, came up
with the bright idea of pushing for and having passed the "Class X" crime bill in 1979.

The sole purpose of the "Class X" crime bill was to lengthen sentences for some crimes whole
abolishing early release opportunities for others. This on it's face seemed to be an excellent idea for those who
stubbornly slung to the belief that "If you do the crime, you do the time". However, what no one seemed to
take into account was that without chances for rehabilitation of the incarcerated men and women within the
state, the theory of cuff'em and stuff'em would result in a much larger problem for the state and taxpaying

Common sense dictates that the more you force into a restricted area, the greater the chances of an
overflow..and so it was with the Department of Corrections. The "Class X" crime bill caused the prison
population to increase at such an alarming rate that by 1982, the Federal District Court had to step in and
declare Tennessee's prisons to be unconstitutional and unfit for human habitation. By 1983-85 prison escapes
increased from 39 in 1978 to more than 130 in 1988 while prison assaults were up by 82%. And, of course,
we cannot forget the prison riots of 1983 and 1985.

It appears that Tennessee's prison administrators have forgotten the lessons of the past and are content
with ignoring the implementation of an effective plan that would serve to reduce prison overcrowding, while
promoting the idea of personal reform. Political figures have told the hard working citizens of our state that if
we just continue to construct one correctional facility after the other, we will somehow magically build our way
out of Tennessee's overcrowding problems, while nothing could be further from the truth and has been
demonstrated throughout Tennessee's correctional history.

Now as we enter a new millennium, Tennessee still faces the problems of the eighties and seems to be
unwilling to deal with the problems faced by it's penal system by employing a realistic plan for prison reform. In
April 2000, the Nashville Tennessean reported that in a March 6, 2000 meeting of the Select Oversight
Committee on Corrections, the Oversight Committee stated that the Department of Corrections had returned to
the state between $11 million and $30 million each year since 1997.

On April 18, 2000, the Greeneville Sun featured and article entitled "Audit: More Tennessee Inmates
Are Going Back to Prison." In this particular article, Donal Campbell, Commissioner of Corrections for the
state of Tennessee, ventilated that there are problems with recidivism and blamed poor funding for the lack of
rehabilitation services within the department. He further stated "It is not disputed that inmates are in need of
multiple services and programs that may have an impact on the recidivism rate.: This indicates that prison
officials are aware of the needs of those incarcerated behind Tennessee's prison walls but because of poor
funding, nothing can be done to satisfy these needs. Is that truth or myth?

In the same article, Donna Blackburn, Executive Director of the Board of Probation and Paroles, said
that less that $500,000 of the Board's $51 Million budget was spent on rehabilitation last year and that the state
is searching for "new" sources of state funding form such programs. Why? If the current budget is not being
used for it's intended purposes?

In my opinion, state officials are being quite deceptive about their desire to execute better solutions that
would be more constructive to rehabilitation and the reduction of the recidivism rate. The Department of
Correction has some 11 to 30 million, you the Commissioner of corrections has declared that due to poor
funding, the state can not afford to implement meaningful programs and services that can and will make a
difference in the reduction of prison overcrowding and recidivism. This has been acknowledged by the
Commissioner of Corrections, so why then, is he not pushing to have this money spent of that which it has been

Similarly, the state board of Probation and Paroles has spent less that $500,000 our of a $51 million
budget designed form rehabilitation purposes and now seek to collect additional funding for such programs
when they aren't using the money presently on least not for rehabilitation purposes. So then, what IS
this money being used for?

There is no question that there is something amiss and until the taxpaying citizens of this state take notice
and begin to question state legislators and prison administrators as to how the state can be in need of more tax
dollars of the construction of needless prison facilities, political figures and prison administrators will continue to
dupe the taxpayers with constant crimes for more and more to be poured into a failing prison system. THINK

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