Tennessee’s new corrections chief wants to work with the courts to come up with sanctions other than prison time for nonviolent offenders, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. State correction commissioner George Little returned to Nashville Monday, after 2 1/2 years as corrections director on Memphis’s Shelby County. Despite 2,109 new beds planned at two prisons, the state expects to be running short of space by mid-2012. “I think one of the weaknesses we have in Tennessee is we simply don’t provide judges with enough tools, nor do we provide the parole board with enough options,” Little told the newspaper.
The state is studying transitional housing to help newly released convicts successfully return to society. Little also is looking at new options for dealing with probationers and parolees who violate their releases. Little, 50, will be sworn in today. He returns to a department he left in 1999 after 15 years helping to restructure it. The prison system in the mid-1980s was much smaller but more crowded and violent.