“THE WORST PRISON THEY’VE EVER BEEN TO”
by Anonymous Family Member of TTCC Inmate
(Sep. 28, 2016) — [Editor’s Note: The following post was submitted in the form of two comments from a reader whose relative is incarcerated at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Trousdale County, TN, a prison about which The Post & Email has reported since early May.
Blair Leibach is the prison warden and is unreachable by phone, and inmates who have filed grievances with him report that they are ignored.]
This prison is a nightmare. My family member is not gang affiliated and the gang members come to him and demand money and when he doesn’t come up with the money he gets death threats. This has gone on since my family member arrived there in Jan and has taken a toll on my loved one. He’s in constant fear of his life every day and skips a lot of meals because the chow hall is dangerous form him. 99% off the prison are gang members. My family member checked into protective custody due to this. Contact from him came to an abrupt hault after I made a call to request that he be put in protective custody. I called the prison after not hearing from him and being concerned. I called for a straight week over and over again 10-15 x’s per day and no one would tell me anything. I would just get transferred to someone’s voice mail or an extension where someone would then transfer me again to another Ext where no one else could help me or I would just get put on hold and no one would ever come back on the line. I was worried sick. I didn’t know if he made it to PC or if a possible threat had been carried out. After being in PC for two weeks they came to his cell and put him back in general population in one of the more dangerous pods with the gang members after he had told them he was in fear of his life. They stay on lock down because the guards have no control of the inmates. They are fed bagged lunches with bologna sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, & dinner for days at a time. There are multiple stabbing and assaults on the officers on a weekly basis. This prison is VERY dangerous. My family member has been transferred all around and has had a lot of rommies and the roomies will keep shanks, needles, and drugs in the room. If the rooms gets shaken down and contraband is found both inmates get wrote up and charged. My family member has gotten written up twice for contraband that doesn’t belong to him. But if you get a write up there are corrupt guards that will take payment to have the write up disappear. The staff does not administer meds to the inmates. I know of two occasions of people with heart conditions that were not given their meds that caused them to go back into heart failure and one died. My family member has been on meds on different occasions once it was antibiotics after dental surgery and very rarely received them. The visits are the worst. I have had to wait one, two, and three hours past the scheduled start time to get into a visit and that was every week for a long time before they changed the visiting hours. It was very frustrating. We will all be sitting in the waiting room and the guards completely ignore the time and are sitting socializing instead of getting us patted down and back to see our family members. I heard that there has been occasions when they start early and get the visitors in on time but I’ve never seen it in the nine months that I’ve been going there. If someone doesn’t speak up and say something they will just leave us sitting there and the visit is only two hours. I have seen people drive three hour/five hours/six hours and be turned away. Once you are approved the policy is that the inmate is notified and they are to pass that along to their family. The prison will not confirm this for you over the phone. If you don’t believe me then call the main line and press 2 for visitation. It is stated on the recording. I’ve seen people drive long distances once they were told by the inmate that they are approved then once they get there the staff tells the family that they haven’t been approved. Many families are driving long distances. You should be able to get someone on the phone at the prison before you drive many, many miles to confirm for you that you have indeed been approved. Once you get into the visit there is no food in the vending machines to purchase. Sometimes there is nothing at all usually there is very little. I’ve been going there since Jan and I’ve never one time seen the vending machines more than 20% full. All the the drinks are out. The only thing usually left is undesirable items such as green ice tea and other flavors of Mtn Dew that purple and red in color. Occasionally you can buy a bottled water or a Cherry Coke. A Mtn Dew or a Coke being available is very rare and only the first couple ppl are through the door get those. Their medical detector is so sensitive that you can’t wear a bra with underwire or any metal on your pants at all or it will set it off and you can not go in. Usually pants or skirts have a metal button, metal hooks, and sometime rivets so it’s very hard to get through. If you have metal in your body for health reasons that will set the metal detectors off you have to have a note from your Dr. because they will not communicate or speak to you over the phone about visits people who are new to the experience get turned away because of the metal detectors. I have resorted to wearing the same thing every time I visit because of this. There used to be two microwaves to cook the food now there is only one. The visit is only two hours people are in line at the microwaves for up to an hour and a half cutting into visit time. I always arrive at the facility optimistic but I usually leave agitated and frustrated due to the way they run the visit. The last time I went I asked the guard to let me into the bathroom. He was sitting at the desk there in the visiting room he told me he needed a minute and I assure you he was not doing anything but sitting there and he never would open the door for me. A line started at the bathroom and I had to wait for someone to come out and hold the door open for me to let me in. Another officer had let her in. They treat us like garbage. One time I called to listen to the visitation recording because I was unsure of the time of the visit because they had recently changed the times. Someone answered the phone and told me they canceled the visit that day. Thank God I called! I would have drive six hours round trip and wasted my time. The inmates were not informed so that they could let us know. My family member tells me that he gets offered drugs repeatedly if he even just walks to the bathroom. Everything is available heroine, cocaine, pot, tobacco, prescription drugs, suboxine & Xanax. That’s just what I know of. There are officers that will bring it in for a price. Drugs is a big economy in there. When the inmates smoke lot or tobacco they cook and burn a bag of popcorn to mask the smell. My family member tells me there are many people holding shanks and some of them carry more than one. There are cell phones in there too because he has bummed calls from them to call me. My X husband did time in prison in Fl and he never had any of these problems whatsoever. It’s very stressful and trying. This prison is a zoo. The gang activity is so prevelant that any hope of rehabilitation is lost.
One last thing … I made the post below this one. There is an approved company that you can purchase shoes, socks, shorts, white T shirts, hair clippers, and various things. I purchased all these necessities for my family member. I spent $200 getting him situated. Every bit of it was stolen within two weeks. Some right out of his room and the rest went to the laundry and never came back. One time he made a large commissary order. I forget where he was medical or something when it was delivered. The guards set the order in his room. Anyone guard or inmate knows that if its not delivered to the person who ordered it what will happen to it. The inmates just helped themselves. Every bit of it was stolen. No one in there cares about right or wrong guards or inmates. It’s a horrible place with no order or control and nothing seem to be getting done about it. There is no justice. It’s every man for himself and we are talking about hard core street thug gang members. Many of them are there for violent crimes, murders, and robberies. If there is ever an issue that you need to speak to someone of authority about well … Good luck! The reason that they are always on lock down is because every couple days there are stabbing and officer assaults. It’s pure mayhem. There isn’t anything getting done about it because it continues to keep happening almost every day. And there are rapes too. CCA is a private owned for profit company. This is unjust. Oh lastly my family member went up for parole out of 27 cases that day two were granted parole with stipulations. This company is making money off of the misfortune of the inmates. How this system got so screwed up when prison is supposed to be somewhat rehabilitative is wrong, wrong, wrong. Blair Leibach get your facility under control. How do you sleep at night? You are responsible for everything that goes on there. Prison isn’t supposed to be a country club I get that but it also isn’t supposed to be hell on earth. ALL the inmates that have been brought in from other places say it’s the worst prison they’ve ever been to. It’s not safe.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.