Contraband search targets inmates, workers at West Tennessee prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Contraband search targets inmates, workers at West Tennessee prison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee's largest state prison is being searched for contraband.

The search began before dawn at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary near Henning, about 45 miles northeast of Memphis.

About 300 agents from three state agencies swarmed the prison and by mid-morning drug dogs had hit on at least six cars in the prison parking lot that should be searched.

The West Tennessee State Penitentiary has about 25-hundred inmates and a staff of more than 800.

Tennessee has more than 19-thousand people incarcerated at 15 prisons spread across the state.

Correction Department spokeswoman Amanda Sluss says the shakedown was planned after legislators criticized the department in April, saying prison officials weren't cracking down hard enough on contraband.

Today, Senator Doug Jackson of Dickson applauded the shakedown, saying there's good evidence there are drug rings being run from behind the walls.

Jackson says he hopes this marks a new day for the Correction Department.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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