by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 4, 2016) — [Editor’s Note:  A letter from a Tennessee inmate received on Saturday reports that a privately-run prison in Hartsville, Trousdale County, TN about which The Post & Email has written previously has taken in a significant number of violent inmates from other facilities, including NWCX.

NWCX is said to be the most dangerous in Tennessee and is operated by the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC).

The Post & Email has been in touch with an inmate who was moved to the Trousdale facility, known as TTCC, in the spring and has reported inadequate staffing resulting in minimum-security inmates spending 23 hours each day in their cells.

The Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) states on its website that its “customer base” is the “Tennessee Department of Correction” and that it is a “medium-security” facility.  It is operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which runs three other facilities in Tennessee and approximately 70 across the nation.

Since TTCC’s opening in January, inmate relatives have alleged an inmate death due to untreated pneumonia and lodged multiple complaints concerning scheduled visitation.  One relative, Bridget Thweatt, told The Post & Email that CCA staff have “no control” over the facility.

Thweatt’s husband has since been moved twice, both times to CCA-operated institutions, and she has reported threats and intimidation against him.

Another relative compared TTCC to “a concentration camp.”  On May 25, the Associated Press reported that TTCC stopped accepting new inmates two weeks prior as a result of multiple infractions cited by an official at the TDOC on March 17.

On Friday, CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger announced that two members of the Board of Directors have resigned.

Our TTCC inmate contact was classified as minimum security but reported in a series of letters beginning in early May that due to understaffing, he and others in that category are treated as if they are medium- or “close”-security.

The NWCX inmate, Bryant K. Lewis, has written to us previously, in one instance enclosing documentation showing that unnamed staff at NWCX altered the stated reason for eight inmate emergency hospitalizations from “illness” to “injury” following a gang uprising at that facility on July 24, 2015.

In his most recent letter, Lewis disclosed that in 1992, he was sent to the South Central Correctional Facility (SCCF), run by CCA, and that the facility received “the worst” inmates within Tennessee’s prison system. “It wasn’t until months later that S.C.C.F. returned some of its most detrimental inmates back to the State,” he wrote.

In previous correspondence, Lewis has expressed concern for the safety of both inmates and correction officers amid the Tennessee prison crisis reported by the mainstream media.

On June 1, TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield resigned his post effective on June 30.  His last day at work is June 20, after which he will become a vice president for a “global” correctional corporation.

Schofield had been sharply criticized for the mass exodus in corrections staff at TDOC facilities thought to have resulted from his administrative change in the way overtime pay is accrued.

In his letter, Lewis also observed, “It would be so simple for T.D.O.C. to seperate these vicious inmates by affiliations.  Then also placing them in seperate institutions.  This would leave the Non-Affiliated Inmates to fill and open new prisons.  With a new staff some of whom never worked in the Correctional field would appreciate the less problematic inmates.” [sic]

“How can the Criminal Reform System in this state explain why they are not in control of its Institutions.  Why can’t they open a new facility and operate it safely?” Lewis then asked.  “When you fail to protect the inmates from other inmates, staff from inmates and also inmates from staff.  You have failed the people of this STATE!” he added.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) has been unresponsive to The Post & Email’s reports of gang violence gleaned from at least a dozen inmates’ letters at various Tennessee facilities.]

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  1. An inmate told me that around Thanksgiving 2016 the “management” decided that it was a good idea to release 45 inmates into a small exercise yard that had a BB court. It was so crowded that it was shoulder to shoulder around the edges of the court as inmates played. They were so brilliant in their planning that they put members of two rival gangs in the yard at the same time, allegedly Crips and Bloods. People died and the whole facility was on lock down for a month. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this scenario was a bad idea. Either they are morons or they want inmates to kill each other.
    In the 18 months since this inmate has been at Trousdale he has witnessed 2 or 3 deaths himself from inmate violence and one were the so called “trained guards” stood around and watched an inmate bleed out and took no effort to save his life.
    This place is a gladiator school, a meat grinder, a grown up version of The Lord of the Flies. It would be less cruel to have inmates dig their own graves and wait for a bullet in the back of the head and scoop of lime than let how this place is managed to continue.

      1. My nephew is in TTCC….I pray for him everyday! I am crying as I read all of the nightmares that this place has and is causing all of these poor boys and the families! Yes I know that my nephew has done wrong…but don’t treat don’t treat him like an animal! I pray that this horrible place will be closed down!!!

  2. My son was finally transfered out of TrousdaleTurner Thank god but we have not recovered the money for a stolen tvand other items also we found out an investigator that was working my sons case before court he was turned down and not allowed to see my son odd it was the day after the guards beat up my son blacked his eye and chopped his tooth it could have made a difference in my sons case we will never know TrousdaleTurner is a nightmare and I pray for any family that has a loved one there

  3. I agree with every single one of you. This prison is a joke. My inmate has been moved three times and has been at this one months now. I’m his only contact that he speaks to regular, being on lock down for weeks at a time is not right. The only thing that keeps some of the inmates sane is talking to family regularly. The one’s that are doing what they are supposed to are getting punished for what gang members are doing, not right. Take gang members and put them somewhere else, get people that know how to run a prison in there. Inmates that are non violent and low level like my inmate should not have to be with dangerous inmates. These prisons (cca)are a joke and don’t care one bit about the inmates safety or medical. The state needs to take over these private prisons, stop letting people get rich for treating our inmates less than human. Yes they’ve done wrong but still deserve to be treated like a human being.

  4. This prison is awful. My brother is in there for calling his girlfriend too many times..and he is being beaten up by gangs and they want money. This facility is out of control. My brother also says food is horrible and they are only given small portions. My brother has has 2 broken bones within only being there several months. I wish the state would look into this because it took them many days to look after the broken bones, and then did nothing to mend it.

  5. My fiancé was jumped at Trousdale. I am his emergency contact and was not contacted for three days after the incident. It’s been almost two months and they still will not release his incident report to me or any of his family members. I have been in touch with lawyers and hopefully will make some headway there, but at the moment, I am just praying that he is able to make some sort of recovery, because he is getting less than adequate care at the medical prison he was moved to after he was released from the hospital.

  6. my son is also at t.t.c.c. and he says its horrible there and says the people who run it acts like they dont know anything when asked.and said his cell mate got jumped inside his cell by some gang members and the gang members took his belongings and also took some of my sons stuff that i had just bought him…and also hes been there for months now and i have called a number of times eo see if i was approved to come visit him and all i got was a recording telling what days and times to come visit,and i also called the warden and to my surprise i got the voice mail once again,,you cannot get nothing done or a straight answer to anything there,,,,,they need to get people in there that knows how to run it!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. My son has asto be put in protective custody because of the violence and stealing and is in fear for his life protective custody is full so he and his cell mate are in the hole my son is not a violent offender and I don’t know why he has been put in such a violent and out of control place he says the gangs are running the facility he is from Knoxville and I don’t know why he was sent so far away people aren’t getting the medical care they need this place is out of control when you call you never get to speak to any one what a nightmare!!

  8. I am in touch with an several inmates at TTCF (“Trousdale”). As of two days ago – via a phone call, I learned of another death that has yet to be reported by the media. This would be the second death due to inadequate medical care – especially a lack of timely medical care. That would be two deaths – avoidable and inexcusable !
    Yes – they have been on lockdown, and during the 1 hour they have to go shower and quickly take care of their personal needs – the prison had the phones (inmate phones) turned OFF ! So for 10 days – I did not hear from someone who calls me 3 or 4 times a week and who counts on our phone calls to keep him feeling connected and his spirits up – in addition to exchange important information between us. When the gentleman in this article says “affiliated” he means gang affiliation. Inmates are classified and among the criteria is the designation of whether or not they are affiliated with any gang.
    The inmate I speek with and am in touch with is not only “minimum” classification, he is a -2 , among the lowest level , least dangerous, and he is not affiliated. — Meanwhile, he is in with much more dangerous and gang affiliated prisoners. He has also been on lockdown, because this is the only way the prison seems capable of managing. — That is an outrage.
    In addition – my inmate contact suffered a severe migraine headache recently and was unable to get any treatment. He told me that many inmates not only had migraines but several woke up in a pool of blood – from nose bleeds. THIS CAUSED A RED FLAG for me – what could be causing this? What are they being exposed to? Why isn’t the STATE DEPT OF CORRECTIONS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE ? The needs to be much MUCH MORE media covering this and the truth of the situation in there exposed.
    There is currently a private security firm, “they look like state troopers, but they are private security” (said my inmate contact” – they are there to protect and to help the inexperienced and overwhelmed prison guards. Well done CCA – you are making a lot of money for your stockholders…as you should be required to serve time enduring the horrific inhumane conditions you have created in your prisons! ……….. How bad does it have to get? How many people need to die senselessly due to CCA negligence? Criminal negligence in my opinion.