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Who resides inside Tennessee’s prisons?

As you watch the news or drive by one of Tennessee’s correctional facilities, you may think you could predict who you would find on the other side of the door. Perhaps you have a picture of a prisoner in your mind. Maybe you consider the offenses that landed an offender behind bars. However, the 2018 fiscal year report from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) might be of interest, especially if you are open to exploring your possible race, gender or age bias.

System-wide community supervision demographics

Tennessee’s correctional system included more than 76,000 people as of the end of June 2018. This includes those in a correctional facility as well as those who are on probation or parole.

The TDOC report can answer some of your potential questions, such as:

  • What are the racial statistics? The majority of those involved in the system, 63 percent, are white while 34 percent are black. However, 40 percent of the felony inmates are black, and 57.6 percent are white. While other races cover 2.4 percent of the felony inmate population, they make up 3 percent of the system total.
  • How old are the people under supervision? The largest number of people involved are between the ages of 30 and 34 (16.4 percent). This age group contains 17.2 percent of the felony inmate population.
  • What is the gender breakdown? At 24 percent, females make up nearly one-fourth of the population, while males encompass 76 percent. However, 88.7 percent of the felony inmates are male.

Click here to learn more about the state’s correctional system, including rehabilitation and employment programs, visiting guidelines and volunteer opportunities.

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