Frequently Asked Questions

How can I learn more about the Tennessee Department of Correction?

While reviewing our website and reading these FAQ's is helpful, another way to really learn about the Department of Correction is to take part in our Citizens' Correctional Academy.

How can I sign up my business to hire offenders and provide gainful employment?

Learn more about offender employment, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and the Federal Bonding Program.

Fill out an application if you are interested in assisting us by providing employment.

How do I visit an offender?

Offenders are instructed to send a blank visitor approval form to any individuals that he/she wishes to be submitted for approval. The completed form with a photograph will be returned to the prison by the potential visitor(s) for processing and/or approval. Visiting hours vary from prison to prison. For more information, please review our visitation webpage.

How do I deposit money into an offender's telephone account?

ConnectNetwork is available as a deposit service to add money to a GTL AdvancePay account or an Offender Phone account.  New Rates  - effective March 17, 2016

Some CoreCivic prisons use Inmate Calling Solutions, LLC.  You may contact them at 888-506-8407 or email  Questions about the service provided may be directed to Praeses Correctional Services or call 800-333-8856.

How do I send money to an offenders' trust fund account?

The Tennessee Department of Correction has streamlined the process for receiving deposits into offender trust fund accounts. Money orders are no longer accepted at TDOC and CCA facilities.  Providing money to an offender by any means other than through their JPay trust fund account is a security threat to offenders, staff, and the public.  If you are asked to send money, do not participate in this scam.  Contact our TDOC TIPS Hotline immediately (1-844-TDC-FIND).

How do I pay a community supervision fee?

The Tennessee Department of Correction has partnered with JPay to facilitate community supervision fees. Effective June 21, 2013, the probation and parole offices may no longer accept fees.

Why do offenders on community supervision have to pay fees?

Community Supervision collects fees from offenders while they are on probation and parole based on the mandates of Tennessee Code Annotated 40.28.201.

How do I send a package to an offender?

You may place an order through Access Securepak or Union Supply Direct.  Information for both options are provided below:

Access Securepak
Online at:
Order by phone: 1-800-546-6283
Fax your order form to: 1-866-754-2813
Mail your order form to: Access Securepak (TN), 10880 Linpage Place, St. Louis, MO 63132

Union Supply Direct
Online at:
Fax your order form to: 888-857-6219
Order by phone: 855-247-6091
Mail your order form to: Union Supply Direct, Dept. 400 P.O. Box 9018, Rancho Domingues, CA 90224-9018

For more information, refer to policy 507.02 (pdf format)(107 kb).

What is Community Corrections?

Community Corrections is a court-imposed form of probation. The offender's prison sentence is suspended and community-based supervision is provided by agencies who contract with the State. Offenders under community corrections supervision, unlike regular probation, receive credit, towards the expiration of the suspended sentence, for time served on the program.

What is determinate release?

Determinate release is the release on probation of offenders who are incarcerated with one to two-year sentences at his or her earliest possible release eligibility date.

How is recidivism calculated?

The recidivism rate is based upon the number of unique felons released from incarceration and the number of those unique felons who subsequently return to incarceration within three-years of release.

Reincarceration is considered recidivism and is tracked in the Tennessee Offender Management Information System (TOMIS).  Please note that reincarceration counts both offenders who are arrested and placed in jail who have not been found guilty of a new crime, as well as offenders who are convicted of committing a new crime.

For instance, 16,558 unique offenders were released statewide from incarceration during calendar year 2014.  A total of 7,827 of those unique offenders released from incarceration in calendar year 2014 returned to incarceration by the end of calendar year 2017. Therefore, the recidivism rate for unique offenders released from incarceration in 2014 is 47.27%.

What does unique offender mean?

Unique offender refers to a single person and measures recidivism for the three-year period following the unique offender’s release from incarceration.  A unique offender is considered a recidivist upon their first reincarceration after release.

So, multiple reincarcerations during the three-year period following release would not create a new unique offender or create a different recidivism outcome.

How is the prison recidivism rate different from the jail recidivism rate?

The prison recidivism rate is based upon felons released from incarceration at one of the 14 state prisons.  The jail recidivism rate is based upon felons released from county jails in Tennessee.

When a felon is released from prison or jail after completing their sentence, and therefore not released to any type of probation or parole, is that person tracked for recidivism purposes upon their release?

Yes.  Offenders are tracked for re-incarceration whether they are released to community supervision or at the expiration of sentence.

What is the significance of the three-year mark?

More than 25 years ago, the Bureau of Justice Statistics put forth effort to standardize how recidivism rates were calculated and has adhered to the three-year timeframe in all of their published data.

How does Tennessee compare to other states?

Because many states use a variety of methods and definitions to calculate recidivism rates, a true comparison is difficult to make.

What is the difference between the return rate and the recidivism rate?

Return rate refers to the ratio of released felons in a particular calendar year that return to incarceration within one year of release.  Recidivism rate refers to the ratio of released felons in a particular calendar year that return to incarceration within three-years of release.

How do technical violators factor into recidivism?

An offender incarcerated for a technical violation is counted in the recidivism rate.

Are certain offender more likely to re-offend than others?

An analysis of offender characteristics and recidivism rates is available in the following study: Recidivism Study YR 2001-2007.

Is recidivism calculated by county of conviction or where the returning inmate resides after release?

Recidivism rates are separated in to two groups: prison recidivism rate and jail recidivism rate. The prison recidivism rate is based upon release from a TDOC prison and the jail recidivism rate is based upon release from a Tennessee jail.

How do I donate acceptable items to a prison?

For donation consideration, please complete this form.

How do I tour a prison?

The Tennessee Department of Correction offers prison tours to school groups.

If I received my high school equivalency diploma while incarcerated, how do I request a duplicate copy?

Duplicate copies may be requested at

How many offenders are incarcerated in adult institutions in Tennessee? How many offenders under 18 years of age are in adult institutions?

On April 30, 2022, there were 17,286 males and 1,589 females assigned to TDOC for a total of 18,875 offenders incarcerated in Tennessee's adult institutions.   On May 7, 2022, there were 3 juveniles incarcerated in TDOC facilities.

How much does it cost per day to house a TDOC offender?

In FY 2021-22, the average cost-per-day to house a TDOC offender (including those housed at privately managed facilities) was $96.68. The cost to house a death row offender was $126.77.

How many offenders are on death row in Tennessee?

On May 1, 2023, there were 44 males and 1 female on death row in Tennessee totaling 45 offenders.

How many offenders are serving life sentences?

As of May 8, 2022, there were 1,792 offenders serving life sentences (i.e., life, life minimum and habitual) and 363 are serving life sentences without parole.

As of February 28, 2022, what percent of the Tennessee prison population was incarcerated on charges of:

Homicide - 19.3% (figure includes charges of Murder 1, Murder 2, and other homicides)
Sex Offenses - 13.5% (figure includes charges of Rape, Aggravated Rape, Aggravated Sexual Battery, and other sexual offenses)
Drug Offenses - 18.2%

What method of execution is used in Tennessee?

Lethal injection is now the primary method of execution in Tennessee.  Legislation was passed in March of 2000, specifying lethal injection for all offenders sentenced to death except for death row offenders who committed their crime prior to January 1, 1999. The method of execution for those offenders shall be lethal injection unless electrocution is specifically requested.

When was the last execution in Tennessee?

The last execution in Tennessee was on February 20, 2020. Nicholas Sutton was put to death by electrocution for Murder 1.

How do I get information on how to do business with the Tennessee Department of Correction?

For information, go to Opportunities for Small Businesses.

Can I be granted access to the ground and/or interior of the historical Tennessee State Penitentiary?

The Tennessee State Penitentiary is closed to the public.  Due to the conditions of the buildings, we do not allow inside access for tours, photos or paranormal activities.  If you are interested in exterior photos, please check our website for dates for our annual 5K Walk/Run.  This is a great opportunity to get those great shots, take on a 5K and help us to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.  If you are a music and/or film producer, you will need to contact the Tennessee Film Commission.