TDOC Applauds Letter of Congressional Support

Thursday, October 12, 2017 | 3:09pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) is pleased to learn of a letter of congressional support regarding efforts to reduce contraband in penal facilities.  Earlier today TDOC received a copy of the congressional letter addressed to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. 

This letter, which is signed by 52 Members of Congress including Tennessee’s own U.S. Representatives David Kustoff, Diane Black, Chuck Fleischmann, Phil Roe and Marsha Blackburn, speaks to the dangers of contraband cell phones which “are used nationwide by inmates to plan attacks and intimidate victims, witnesses, and correctional staff.”  Additionally, the letter presses for collaborative approach focusing on “solutions sooner rather than later.” 

The letter also calls for a meeting between the FCC, correctional leaders, mobile technology executives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to address these issues within the next several months and report their findings back to Congress.  Commissioner Tony Parker, who took part in a meeting between the FCC and members of the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) earlier this year, believes the Congressional support of this initiative will make Tennesseans safer.  “The leadership of Congressman Kustoff and the Tennessee delegation shows their commitment to the more than 6-thousand correctional professionals throughout this great State,” says Commissioner Parker.   “Contraband is a national problem and impacts not only our facilities but also the community.  I am proud to be in the fight against contraband because collaborations like these take our interdiction efforts to the next level.”

Chief Interdiction Officer Lee Dotson adds, “Local, state, and national leaders working together to combat this problem sends a strong message that the introduction of contraband will not be tolerated.  These partnerships are invaluable as we move forward to enhance public safety.” 

Earlier this year, TDOC partnered with several law enforcement agencies to create a Joint Operation to combat contraband.  Those agencies were represented by the following:  U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant, TBI Assistant Director Dewayne Johnson, Colonel Tracy Trott from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long, and U.S. Attorney Jack Smith.  The Department is proud to work with these organizations who understand that thwarting this national problem will take all criminal justice agencies working together to make our communities safer.

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