by Sharon Rondeau

(Jan. 15, 2017) — Like numerous others before him, an inmate relatively new to the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, TN has told The Post & Email that privately-run prisons in the state are dominated by gang members and highly dangerous to non-members. “There is no security for people like me just trying to do time,” he wrote.

TTCC is owned and operated by CoreCivic, formerly known as CCA, which runs three other Tennessee prisons, including the inmate’s previous facility in Whiteville, TN. Of his time there, the inmate wrote, “I was exstorted [sic] at Whiteville + was scared for my life + I tried to get the officers + staff to help + they just put me back on the compound. They refused to give me protection. While I was moved around at Whiteville, I seen just how many gang members that worked at the facility that was on the payroll!”

A report aired in December 2015 by WSMV Channel 4 states that the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) has accepted gang members into its ranks through its cadet training program, a claim supported by email communications among TDOC employees and a former instructor.

In the video portion of the report, the former instructor, who was “terminated” for allegedly having a relationship with a trainee, a claim she denies, mentioned that bringing in “contraband” is a goal of gang members seeking to become correction officers (4:19).

TDOC spokeswoman Neysa Taylor has denied the former instructor’s claim, citing it as “inaccurate” and “absolutely false.”

The inmate whose letter is featured below is not the first to report that gang members essentially control daily life at TTCC.  While Taylor has called The Post & Email’s reportage of TTCC conditions based on firsthand accounts “inaccurate,” letters from new inmates making the same claims as to gang activity and short-staffing at TTCC continue to arrive on a weekly basis.

“I’ve seen alot + thats why they moved me,” the TTCC inmate wrote.  “They have the gangs in C.C.A. all cliqued together because they are scared of them. Most of the guards are women. I’ve seen them bring in drugs, Heroin, Pot, Xanax cocaine, soboxin and It’s Flooded in C.C.A. because that’s how they make their money.”

CoreCivic’s spokesman, Jonathan Burns, has not responded to The Post & Email’s several requests for comment.

Deeply-seated problems have also been reported at Tennessee’s state-run prisons, of which there are ten, although the TDOC provides oversight to CoreCivic’s institutions as well.

In 2013, WSMV released a report showing that its I-Team found inmates in 14 prisons, the total number of prisons in Tennessee including those privately-run, with internet and Facebook access and claiming to be using drugs.  “There was no hiding the fact they had phones,” I-Team reporter Jeremy Finley said during the broadcast.  When confronted with the evidence, then-TDOC Assistant Commissioner Tony Parker blamed it on a “nationwide problem.”

The report focused on the inmates’ use of banned items, termed “contraband,” but not the means by which the contraband was procured.

Last June, Parker was elevated to TDOC commissioner when former Commissioner Derrick Schofield abruptly announced his departure to work for a global correction organization, GEO Group.

The Post & Email has removed identifying elements of the inmate’s letter.


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  1. Troy ogg I agree with every word I was at whiteville for 2 years in k unit and never had a issue with nobody because I did not get drugs on credit and I did not get in debt , things dont happen to you for no reason ,you have to do something for anybody in prison to do something to you…stay outta debt and respect others and you’ll be fine at any prison I been to them all I flatten a 15 yr sentence went in at 18 I’m 34 now been out 3 months and never had one fight or one thing stolen and I am not a gang member I’m a regular white guy

  2. I was in whiteville correctional facility and most of the stuff i read is just false inmates will write anything to get transferred to another prison they like every prison is ran by gangs but they don’t just run around taking people stuff if you respect them they will respect you no matter what prison you go to it’s going to be the same and every prison has staff whose in gangs that’s just part of being in prison and i promise if they say u failed a drug test its because you was using drugs i wasn’t in a gang and never once was i extorted or my stuff took or was i in any altercations with any gangs usually inmates will rack up a drug debt and then have problems then they want to write anyone they can to be moved hoping they get out that debt but that’s not how it works whatever you do it follows you no matter where you go and alot of the inmates will call home and tell their families that gangs are extorting them just so they will send them money to buy drugs yes whiteville is mostly gangs but so is every other prison the best thing to do is get your life together so you don’t go to a place like that and the reason the prison don’t move them to protective custody is because their life isn’t in danger they say that just to be moved or they racked up a drug debt they can’t pay and as far as guards opening doors for just anybody is false i been to h-unit j- unit and g-unit which was the worst pod in the prison and if the cell roster doesn’t have your face on it for that cell they won’t open the doors and i NEVER once seen a guard assault a inmate or let any gangs to the inmate this is all a bunch of lies and i know that because i was there and usually gangs don’t gang up on anyone unless you really did something bad the head gang leaders will set up a one on one if you want it and they won’t jump you you just have to respect the gangs which in return they will respect you and the letter i read about being extorted and everything else is false i guarantee you that if they do a farther investigation on it the truth will come out that inmate is just doing what you don’t do in prison which is number one rule snitching and telling everything he knows read it he even said he keeps his eyes open and ear to the ground and back to the wall which means he will tell anything he knows in return of a favor to be moved to Morgan county prison which almost all inmates want to go there or Bledsoe prison which the same stuff still goes on there that he was writing about sounds to me his problem is he’s in business that has nothing to do with him which doing that will cause u problems run the camera footage i bet you won’t find one time of inmates jumping him or extorting him because if the gangs was doing that they would come in your cell to do it and the reason whiteville gets locked down is because of something that happened at Hardin County prison or people writing letters saying something bad is about to happen or if the staff locks it down to do a drug knive and cell phone sweep so they can prevent problems usually in prison the inmates make their own problems which is unnecessary ALL they have to do is respect others mind your own business and don’t get in debt just because you’re not in a gang don’t mean your life is in danger i wasn’t in one and i was there awhile and NEVER had one problem you know why because i respected others which in return they respected me and i minded my own business NEVER ran to the guards telling everything just to get special favors and i didn’t get in any debt if you don’t have the money for it or a way to pay it back don’t get it noone not even gangs pressure things on you best advice is DON’T focus on everything others is doing around you focus on yourself and what you got to do to go home and moms if the prison says your child failed a drug screen the chances are he did and im sure if they denied their parole for it they put them in the drug program the prison offers to help them if they come out of prison using drugs what’s their chances of staying out of prison slim to none so the prison holds them longer because their not ready to come home they still need help prison has a strong R program to help prisoners with the areas they are weak in so they don’t return to prison again and every prison has drugs so does every jail and street corner to but if the people buying the drugs would make better choices and not buy them their wouldn’t be any in the prison or anywhere else the people only sells the drugs because others make choices to buy them you think they would sell drugs if noone bought them NO so people don’t believe everything you hear i know from experience because i was their i lived that life and hope to NEVER go back they only have prisons because people choose to commit crimes if noone committed crimes there would be no prisons and i only seen people who sexually assaulted kids or women get extorted which they deserve to be extorted for their whole stay if u want my opinion who harms a innocent kid who cant defend for themselves anyways thanks alot troy ogg tomis number 474146

  3. My son just failed drug test knowing he made parole I truly believe he was set up prison parole officer told me to tell my so to not take anything or smoke cig and for him to drink plenty of water he’s very smart I fill that Turner correctional fac set him up to fail this test. If any body has had same experience let me know call this 2562440803

  4. This is crazy. What can be done to help our loved ones there. It’s like nobody cares you can’t get Dept of Corrections to help they Neymar Taylor covers up for them as well as everyone else. My son was to get out of Trousdale in July but due to a failed drug test that was a sit up he wasn’t released. He has never failed a drug test whole time he has been incarcerated. Sad part he had no idea of it until me his mom told him after he was waiting to leave Trousdale. It’s their word against his what can you do in a case like this you can help. This is wrong