REPORT: INMATES DENIED MEDICATIONS FOR THREE DAYS PRIOR TO INCIDENT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 17, 2017) — On April 8, 2017, three correction officers were injured at the Turney Center Industrial Complex (TCIX) in Only, TN allegedly by 16 inmates with possible “security threat group,” or gang, affiliations.
One of the officers was reportedly taken hostage by the inmates for approximately three hours.
All three were hospitalized and are now “recovering at home,” according to the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC).
The agency has said that the attack on the correction officers was “unprovoked.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), which has been reported to be corrupt, will be “assisting” with an investigation of the incident at the TDOC’s request.
Last Thursday, the TDOC reported that “Units involved in the incident remain on lockdown, while others have begun a modified activity schedule. Visitation is cancelled for this Friday, April 14. Saturday through Monday (4/15/17-4/17/17) regular visitation will resume for offenders in units 1, 2, 5, and 6. Visitation this weekend is cancelled for offenders housed in units 3 & 4.”
In early January, an inmate then at TCIX sent The Post & Email a large package of documentation in which he claimed that correction officers assault inmates in violation of the oath they are required to take by TCA 41-1-103.
Similar reports have reached us from the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) in Wartburg. Inmates have reported unprovoked assaults which include punches to the stomach and rib cage and “beatings” resulting from what they describe as “hands-on training.”
In late February, an MCCX inmate wrote to U.S. Sen. Robert Corker to ask for an FBI investigation of conditions in Tennessee prisons. Earlier that month, The Post & Email wrote to President Donald Trump requesting the same.
As have others, the TCIX inmate sent copies of his correspondence to his state legislators and the U.S. Department of Justice.
As WSMV reported on April 9, a proposal which would form an oversight committee to the TDOC is currently under consideration by the Tennessee legislature.
On Sunday, The Post & Email received an unsolicited email from an apparent observer to the TCIX incident who wrote, “As you know, there was, what TDOC is calling an “unprovoked incident” in Unit 3 at that prison last Sunday, April 8, 2017 that resulted in three officers being hospitalized. Attached is a letter that he sent out while the entire prison was on lock-down and no phone calls were allowed. As you will note, the story that TDOC told the media is far from what everyone, including those that were not even near Unit 3, are saying.”
The message invoked a federal lawsuit, Shelton v. Ray et al, in which plaintiff and TCIX inmate Lorenzo Shelton accused five correction officers of “assault” and “excessive force” against him on March 5, 2010. The Post & Email was unable to find a final disposition on the case, which appears to have been reduced to one defendant by U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Clifton Knowles in March 2011.
TTCC is one of four privately-run prisons in the state and has been described by some inmates and their relatives as “the worst” facility in which they have ever been housed.
TDOC Communications Director Neysa Taylor has denied the accuracy of such reports.
The email continued, “If we are constantly treating them like animals, talking to them as if they were a different species from us, and oppressing them, how can we be shocked and upset when they finally break and push back? They are human beings, and as such, there is a limit to what anyone can take” and contained the letter pictured below.
The email concluded, speaking of the TDOC:
They are hoping that this incident blows over and their treatment of those folks behind the wall will never come to light. Someone looking into incidents like this in the prison system would force their hand and hold them accountable for the treatment of other human beings. They would have to follow their own policies and justify the necessity for those polices. Every institution that is in charge of so many human lives in our modern society should have the appropriate checks and balances.
The report continued:
He said, “We let the other officer go so he can get medical attention. We’re trying to do the same thing with this officer now, but we’re just trying to make sure…They don’t want to give the officer up right now without the vans, the buses coming in so they can be transported.”
The inmate went on to say, “Everybody’s on edge in here, everybody’s on edge, and they know if they give the officer up, more than likely people are going to die. There’s already been some officers in here, they are ready to kill. These officers are ready to kill…”
The inmate who called News 2 said he and the other prisoners wanted to be transferred to Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. It was not immediately clear if this was the facility they were taken to.
In February, The Post & Email was contacted by TTCC inmate Ricky Lynn Greene, who said that he attacked a correction officer in the hope that he would be transferred to a maximum security prison.
According to WSMV’s report, Tennessee’s prison system was once under “federal receivership, for, among other things, security issues.”
An email received on Monday from the same party as Sunday’s message stated:
On a side note, the inmates were locked down for three days. This was three days that they were not allowed to have any of their meds. Can you imagine what this did to those on phsyc meds or blood pressure or heart meds? I know one in particular that after three days of no blood pressure meds had a reading of 139/108. When the nurse took his blood pressure, he was alarmed at how high it was and she told him that it was a normal pressure and she would try to get him his meds soon. That is unacceptable. They are killing those that they are being paid to protect through neglect.
Last month, an MCCX inmate suggested that the Tennessee Department of Correction be renamed to “Tennessee Department of Corruption.”