“EVERYTHING IS GETTING SUBVERTED BY THE OFFICIALS HERE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 7, 2017) — On Friday, the relative of an inmate at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, TN contacted The Post & Email to relate accounts of horrific conditions within the prison similar to those which have been reported by both inmates and their relatives over the last eight months.
The Post & Email became aware of the facility after an inmate who was relocated there in the spring began sharing his observations of a prison lacking basic necessities and adequate staffing to maintain any semblance of safety and order.
TTCC is owned and operated by CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The company spokesman, Jonathan Burns, has declined comment to this publication.
Although Tennessee law allows for only one privately-run prison, the state currently has four as well as several detention centers run by CoreCivic. The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) retains a supervisory role over both state- and privately-run prisons.
The Post & Email has sent a number of its reports with embedded documentation to TDOC Communications Director Neysa Taylor but has rarely received a response. In a telephone conversation in August, Taylor attempted to convince The Post & Email that the myriad of reports received about the horrendous conditions at Trousdale are “inaccurate,” to which we responded that we stand by our reporting.
Neither Taylor nor anyone else in Tennessee government has ever requested a correction or the removal of an article for inaccuracy in the 7+ years we have been reporting on systemic corruption within the grand juries, the courts, the executive branch, and, more recently, the prison system.
In late May, the Associated Press published a report corroborating The Post & Email’s reportage of short-staffing, inadequate headcount procedures, and excessive use of force on the part of at least one correction officer as shown in a video-camera recording.
Since that time, dozens of inmates have written that gang members roam the facility freely as a result of fear on the part of the few correction officers on duty at any given time and that the prison maintains a virtually-continuous state of “lockdown.”
Others have reported a failure on the part of Centurion, the private health-care provider within the prison, to dispense physician-prescribed medication, some of which is potentially life-saving.
In the latest case, the relative wrote in an email that her loved one “has experienced several atrocities” since arriving at TTCC several months ago. “These things began the minute he arrived at Trousdale,” she reported.
She related an example of the theft of his personal property which has never been located despite her numerous contacts with the warden and assistant warden to recover it. “The property is a small thing in comparison to some of the other things,” she said.
An audio-recording supplied by the relative of a phone call with her loved one alleges that a correction officer by the last name of “Anderson” is working in conjunction with gang members rather than to contain them.
According to the relative, the inmate was refused medical care for a “laceration” caused by the actions of a correction officer.
The relative said that the inmate “has filed grievances several times only to have them disappear or be returned to him,” a story related by numerous other TTCC prisoners and their relatives.
“I have made calls to the warden as well as the assistant warden to make them aware of these things. I have spoken with several people in Nashville as well, Including Mr Howerton who is in charge of the overseeing of the private prisons,” the inmate’s relative wrote, referring to Correctional Administrator Tony Howerton, also mentioned in the AP story.
Some relatives have opined that TTCC treats its inmates “like they are animals.”
A recording in which the inmate related an incident which he said occurred on January 2 is not only disturbing by its nature, but also a health hazard for which the perpetrator reportedly was not punished.
“Everything is getting subverted by the officials here,” the inmate is heard telling his relative. “It’s provable and it’s on camera.”