On June 28, 2007, Governor Bredesen signed the legislation that amended TCA 39-17-1315. This legislation allows the Board of Probation and Parole to authorize designated officers to the Apprehension and Enforcement Unit (AEU). These officers are required to complete eight weeks of training, after which they are law enforcement P.O.S.T. certified and are commissioned by the Board to be armed while on duty. Their responsibilities include making home visits, working with offenders who have violated their standards of supervision, searching for absconders, serving warrants, making arrests and transporting offenders to local jails. They also assist regular Probation/Parole Officers and local law enforcement agencies and make court appearances when ordered. The AEU is currently located in Madison and Shelby Counties.
According to Tennessee Code Annotated TCA 40-35-501, offenders with felony sentences of two (2) years or less are placed on mandatory determinate probation:
The Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole began statewide implementation of GPS monitoring on July 1, 2007. As part of this implementation, BOPP established a new work unit, the Programmed Supervision Unit (PSU), which supervises violent and sexual offenders. The PSU is a specialized unit comprised of Probation/Parole Officers trained specifically in best practices for supervising this particular offender population. Its program includes targeted treatment, and officers use close supervision tactics, including frequent contact with the offenders, their employers, families, treatment providers and law enforcement. Offenders convicted of rape of a child, other serious violent felons, and/or sex offenders determined to be at high risk to re-offend, are also monitored using GPS technology.
Officers are responsible for monitoring PSU offenders' compliance with applicable requirements, including all the provisions of the Sex Offender Registration Law. Due to the increased involvement with each offender, PSU officers have significantly lower caseloads, with a target case size of one officer for every 25 offenders.
The PSU has a centralized statewide GPS Operation Center (GO Center) that is staffed and operated around the clock, triaging all GPS alerts to reduce field PSU officer overtime. Each district has PSU officers on call 24 hours a day, year-round, who conduct home visits and other field work tasks, frequently after business hours, as well as on weekends and holidays.
In 2007, in response to the Board of Probation and Parole's recognition of the need to provide more specialized services for at-risk offenders, BOPP included positions in Field Services for Licensed Social Workers. The integration of these positions into Field Services has been beneficial to offenders and their families as they work one-on-one with the PSW. The work of the PSW has also been beneficial to the agency and the community by ensuring that services are provided where needed. PSWs are both educated in, and experienced at, providing assistance with crisis interventions, group facilitations, counseling, mental health evaluations and referrals.
There are three Certified Officer Safety Trainers assigned to middle, east and west Tennessee. These officers provide safety training to staff, including safeguarding against psychological and physical abuse, stress management, and motivational interviewing.
The progressive intervention process is dedicated to improving public safety by providing community alternatives to minor violations of parole and probation. The ACRC reviews each offender's situation individually in order to determine an appropriate course of action, as well as any sanctions that should be imposed. Sanctions include, but are not limited to, increased supervision contacts, selected program participation (drug and alcohol treatment, anger management classes, employment assistance, etc), electronic monitoring and/or community service. This process eliminates the costs of incarcaration by providing an alternative to offenders with minor violations.
According to Tennessee Code Annotated TCA 29-206, upon successful completion of the Special Alternative Incarceration Program located in Wayne County, an offender (whose sentence can include property offenses up to six (6) years) is released to probation supervision for the remainder of their sentence. The program was designed to assist in providing additional space in state institutions for more serious and violent offenders. The Technical Violator Program is utilized for offenders who have violated supervision rules other than new offenses.