Skip navigation

PLN managing editor discusses discipline of TN prison warden

WSMV Channel 4, Oct. 11, 2016.

Warden placed on leave given new position


Posted: Oct 11, 2016 9:30 PM CDTUpdated: Oct 11, 2016 11:02 PM CDT


Just weeks after a top prison supervisor was placed on leave following a state investigation, she has a new role at a correctional facility and still as a supervisor.

Carolyn Jordan was one of the three top wardens at the Tennessee Prison for Women to be placed administrative earlier this month.

A two-week investigation showed there was under-staffing for critical positions, inmates weren't getting medication on time and there was inappropriate contact between prisoners.

Alex Friedmann, a former prisoner and managing editor of Prison Legal News, said those are serious issues, but they’re not all uncommon.

"These things are actually pretty low-level typical type things where things happen in prison,” said Friedmann.

He says the issues the Department of Corrections is citing for placing the supervisors on administrative leave doesn't add up.

“For the three top administrators to lose their positions or be demoted speaks of something more serious, but we just don't know how serious,” said Friedmann.

Channel 4 has asked the Department of Corrections for specifics, but so far answers aren't being provided.

“People have the right to know what is going on in the state prison system.  We have a huge state prison system in Tennessee.  We spend about one billion dollars a year on it which is an enormous amount, and I think we need some accountability for what we are paying for,” said Friedmann.

The Department of Corrections confirmed in a statement that Jordan has been reassigned as the Assistant Warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison.

"This was a role that she previously held and was quite successful in this position," said spokeswoman Neysa Taylor in a statement. "The level of oversight and responsibilities for an Associate Warden are quite different from that of a Warden. Mrs. Jordan fared well in the Associate Warden's role before and we believe she will be successful in that role again."

Friedmann sees that transfer as a serious problem.

“It’s a concern when you discipline a warden at one facility and then they simply move them to another facility. You are just moving a problem around rather than addressing the problem,” said Friedmann.

According to Transparent Tennessee, an online state employee salary database, Jordan is around $61,000 per year.

According to the same website, wardens for the Department of Correction made between $90,216 and $96,132 annually.