By KIMBERLEE KRUESI, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Lee says he has no reason to be concerned about private companies running prisons in Tennessee but says he also hasn't analyzed the situation to see if a red flag might turn up.

The new governor told reporters Friday that he's asked budget writers to find potential cost savings inside the Department of Correction - as well as among all 50 state agencies - but that request did not specify considering cuts to the state's use of private prisons.

Tennessee has four private prisons, all managed by Nashville-based CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America.

At the same time, Correction Commissioner Tony Parker warned Lee that low government salaries have led to increasing turnover and high vacancy rates among key correctional staffers.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.