Report: Inmate “High on Meth” Attacks Correction Officer at Tennessee Prison

SPOKESMAN SAYS “SAFETY AND SECURITY” “TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY” DESPITE MULTIPLE STAFF AND INMATE ASSAULTS

by Sharon Rondeau

(Sep. 12, 2017) — WSMV Channel 4 in Nashville reported on Friday another assault on a correction officer at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, TN.

The assault is the second of which The Post & Email has become aware within the last two weeks.

The first, described as a “sexual assault” perpetrated by ten inmates on a female correction officer, was reported to us through an inmate’s letter and later confirmed by an impeccable source.

TTCC is owned and operated by the largest private prison company in America, CoreCivic.

In its latest report, WSMV stated that documents it was able to obtain show that an inmate “high on meth” stabbed the correction officer repeatedly in the neck until other inmates came to the officer’s aid.

Inmates and their relatives have said they are treated “like animals” and that sanitation, decent food, medical care, access to the law library, and basic safety are all substandard.  A number of inmates told The Post & Email that they were aware that drugs were entering the facility and of having witnessed inmates injecting them into their veins, with some resulting in death.

Early in the spring of 2016, inmates transferred to the brand-new facility found it to be severely under-staffed, with frequent 23-hour lockdowns a result.  Many described it as the “worst facility” in which they had ever been housed.

Several inmates have reported the falsification of records relating to employment which they never held, resulting in money deposited in their accounts which was not earned.

Last summer, when The Post & Email described some of the dozens of reports of violence and uncontrolled gang activity reported at TTCC, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Communications Director Neysa Taylor told us that the information we were provided was “inaccurate.”

In June, Channel 4 presented a four-part series demonstrating that inmates often wait months to receive medical attention, even in dire situations.   Gang members were also reported as having been sought to “keep the peace” at the facility.

In the first segment of the series, a longtime former CoreCivic chaplain claimed to have been terminated after she became a whistleblower based on her observations of inmate treatment and general conditions.  While CoreCivic has denied that allegation and the others presented by award-winning journalist Demetria Kalodimos, Channel 4 has stood by its reporting.

Although privately-owned and operated, the TDOC is responsible for providing oversight, Taylor told us.

CoreCivic has declined to provide comment to this publication, although in response to the incident reported Friday, its spokesman, Jonathan Burns, told WSMV:

The introduction of contraband is a daily challenge that every correctional facility in the country faces.

We take the safety and security of our staff and the inmates entrusted to our care very seriously. To that end, we have a number of policies, practices and technologies that we use to prevent and reduce the introduction of contraband into the facility.

While we cannot elaborate on all of these efforts for security reasons, some examples include both scheduled and random searches of inmates and buildings, random drug testing of inmates, as well as initial and ongoing training for staff on awareness, detection and prevention.

In February 2016, the FBI held a press conference in which it announced that an undercover investigation revealed a drug-supplying ring both inside and outside of a number of Georgia’s prisons, after which arrests were made and a kidnap/murder plan foiled just in time. The Post & Email has inquired of the FBI why the same type of investigation cannot be carried out in Tennessee but has received no response.

In addition, in early February of this year, The Post & Email contacted the White House with copies of prisoner letters describing the conditions reported to us by TTCC inmates. We received no response.

CoreCivic was founded in Nashville in 1983.  Its motto is “Better the public good.”

3 Responses to "Report: Inmate “High on Meth” Attacks Correction Officer at Tennessee Prison"

  1. Cassandra Harrell   Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 8:24 PM

    This is just terrible !Thank you for reporting “Real News” that matters.

  2. Vivian Melton   Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 7:13 PM

    Every single sentence is true PLUS more. The inmates are cussed worse than even I could imagine and I’ve been a bartender in a biker bar for the past decade! They are constantly pitted against each other. Everyone getting punished or locked down for a few that don’t do things as fast as they are supposed to. The guards actually say this aloud to inmates. “Either you will move or you will all be locked down and THEY will move you or whip yo a**es!!” These female guards are speaking of other inmate “favorites” or gang members they foolishly believe actually protect them.(female guards) Every minute, hour, day an inmate is kept there, is money. When inmates get written up, not as many good days are taken off the end of sentence. Their “jobs” are constantly taken away and pay is hardly ever correct. Some inmates haven’t been paid for months of working at .39 CENTS AN HOUR!! And it NEVER gets taken care of. TDOC has been written repeatedly with no response. Parole? Ha! If it isn’t directly related to keeping an inmate there longer, then it simply doesn’t exist there. And I truly wish I was wrong. In even the smallest way. But I’m not. I’ve witnessed more laws broken and Civil Rights violated there then anywhere in my entire life. Everyone who has ANY part of keeping an inmate there need to be held accountable for every infraction they have ALL made. From the bottom to the top. In many Counties.
    The State. Private Companies. All involved. We are ALL held accountable to the very laws and regulations these people blatantly ignore. Its past time our tax dollars DO NOT provide profit while they are breaking more laws than the inmates we are so stupidly paying them to cage. Yes! We do need prisons. But there ARE laws that even the Correctional “world” must obey. And they have NOT for far too long.

  3. Charlotte Jones   Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    Although the inmate who committed the assault has apparently been shipped out to Morgan County, the rest of the prison is still on lockdown a week later.

    The treatment received at this place is so mentally debilitating that the only surprise is more assaults don’t happen.

    They are not given jobs, the programs CoreCivic pretends to have are a mirage, every publicly made company and tdoc statement smells of pig manure and double talk.

    The people running this place are far bigger criminals than anyone sentenced there. Steal a loaf of bread you go to jail, torture and steal men’s lives and profit off of it.

    These inmates are all in danger with inedible food, staff who provoke men with mental health issues, haphazard and substandard medical care. You cannot lock humans up for years with no hope and expect improvement.

    CoreCivic staff and shareholders need to experience weeks of lockdown, green bologna and no showers. So do the politicians who allow these private prisons to proliferate.

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