'Appalling' audit reveals TN poorly tracks sex offenders

'Appalling' audit reveals TN poorly tracks sex offenders

(WMC-TV) - A shocking audit found Tenn. is doing a poor job tracking sex offenders statewide.

Nashville's newspaper, The Tennessean, conducted an audit that found parole and probation officers failed to properly supervise sex offenders sometimes allowing them access to children.

Now state leaders are getting involved.

The state monitors about 800 felons by GPS and most of them are sex offenders. But auditors found probation officers were ignoring alerts more than 80 percent of the time when sex offenders violated law when entering an area where they are not allowed, like a school zone.

State representative Barrett Rich from Somerville says he is stunned at the audit findings. An internal investigation has launched and Rich is meeting with Governor Bill Haslam later this week.

"The most appalling thing that we have is that we have state employees in the board of probation and parole that were lying about checking on these offenders," said Barrett Rich. "I mean, my gosh, they are supposed to be checking on these folks on a daily basis, weekly or monthly or how often they are scheduled to check on them. They should be checking on them."

The audit also reveals that probation officers fell behind on basics like checking on addresses for offenders, visiting them at home, and making sure they were given drug tests. As a result, some offenders according to the audit found easy access to children while supposedly under state supervision.

The audit did attribute some of the blame to inadequate staffing.

Right now, no specifics are being released on where the gross lack of oversight occurred in Tennessee.

"I've requested the department to do a full top to bottom review of the workings of probation and parole, get to the bottom of why felons were not being supervised correctly," said Rich.

Tennessee State leaders expect the issue of tracking sex offenders to be brought up again with the goal of fixing the system and making it safer for children.

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