Monday Update on NWCX Incident

Monday, July 27, 2015 | 09:50pm

On Friday afternoon, officers at Northwest Correctional Complex responded to an incident involving a group of offenders.  No staff members were injured but 8 offenders directly involved in the incident were transported to area hospitals. 

At this time, 5 offenders remain hospitalized in stable condition. Northwest Correctional Complex remains on lockdown pending completion of the investigation.  Portions of West Tennessee State Penitentiary also remain locked down as a precautionary measure.

Despite recent false media reports, this incident was not the result of any vacancies, “staffing shortages,” or recent scheduling changes. At every TDOC prison across the state, all mandatory posts are appropriately staffed and sometimes that requires the use of paid overtime.  The investigation into the incident has revealed the incident resulted from a conflict between two rival gangs in a local community spilling over into the prisons.  Inmates with alliances to illegal gangs make up nearly one third of our inmate population. 

The very nature of what we do within the Department of Correction has inherent risks. This is due to the simple fact that the Department is charged with managing thousands of convicted felons whom society has said must be confined in order to keep the public safe.  We continue to incarcerate more violent offenders and our prison population reflects that change.  In response to this more violent offender, our staff continues to implement processes that enhance security.  The quick response and containment of the incident at Northwest demonstrates our processes are effective in being prepared to transition from normal operations to enhanced security protocols.  Our team is better equipped and trained than ever before.  The training, professionalism and dedication of all of our Correctional Professionals all contribute to the decrease in violent incidents.  In this fiscal year, incidents have decreased by 23%.  In addition, staff assaults have decreased by 29%.

TDOC’s non-negotiable mission is to operate safe and secure prisons and provide effective community supervision in order to enhance public safety.