TN official says parole checks more efficient

5:18 PM, Mar 2, 2013   |    comments
Gov. Bill Haslam conducts a budget hearing with the Tennessee Department of Correction on Nov. 13. Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield outlined his proposed budget and answered the governor's questions. / Steven S. Harman / The Tennessean
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The commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Correction said he has addressed problems found in a performance audit by the state comptroller's office that showed at least 82 people who parole officers claimed they checked on were actually dead.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Derrick Schofield talked about the audit and how his department was faring since it took responsibility for certain services in the Board of Parole.

The audit released in October found problems with parole checks that had been reported between January 2011 and May 2012.

Schofield said an internal investigation revealed no wrongdoing by staffers but uncovered problems with a faulty data entry process.

He said the department has since developed procedures for identifying and removing deceased offenders from rosters. This includes using databases that collect information on deaths reported in Tennessee and nationally to cross-reference individuals under supervision.

Schofield said he also instructed staffers to make face-to-face visits with each of the department's nearly 79,000 probationers and parolees. He said a connection was made with most of those individuals.

"The image we want to demonstrate is that we will be in the community, and we will be knocking on doors," Schofield said. "We will check you at work."

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