IS THE SIMMERING CAULDRON ABOUT TO BOIL OVER?

by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 5, 2016) — An inmate at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, TN wrote in a letter received on Thursday that despite small improvements noted at the facility over the past two months by some inmates, conditions have worsened.

“I think something is going to go down because the inmates are getting sick of how they are being treated,” he wrote.

TTCC opened in January without proper staffing, which resulted in inmates designated as “minimum-security” spending up to 23 hours each day in solitary confinement.

Since early May, The Post & Email has received dozens of letters from TTCC inmates corroborating the others’ accounts of daily life there. Relatives, too, have expressed frustration that scheduled visitation days often entail hours of waiting before they are permitted to see their loved ones and predicted that “something is going to happen” if conditions do not improve.

One relative described TTCC as “a concentration camp.”

TTCC is owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), whose spokesman, Jonathan Burns, had ignored questions from this publication. However, in mid-May, the Associated Press reported in a widely-circulated article that it had obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request demonstrating that on March 17, the facility had been cited for conducting headcounts improperly and for pepper-spraying an inmate who appeared to have been compliant at the time.

There appears to be no accountability within the prison, as the warden and his assistant have directed callers to CCA.

Inmates have additionally voiced objections to the inaccessibility of the law library, cold food, lack of employment opportunities which would normally be expected in a prison environment, gang members roaming the institution at will and even performing nightly lockdowns, and disrespectful correction officers.

Both relatives and inmates have related that CCA employees from out-of-state were brought in to staff the facility but that a private security company, G4S, has been supplying personnel for the last few months to serve as correction officers.

“…there’s alot of gang members here + they’re in every unit.  Some units are worse than others, but in most units the gang members ‘run things’  There’s alot of robbing, stealing, + extorsion that goes on here + it happens to the unaffiliated guys in here.  There’s min. security guys that are getting beat up + robbed by gang members for their TVs, radios, shoes, commissary, or whatever else these guys can take from them + there’s nothing the unaffiliated guy can do about it because they come in on him 4 or 5 deep + sometimes they have knives + sometimes they don’t.,” wrote another inmate last month.

Portions of the inmate’s one-page letter follow.

 

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