by Sharon Rondeau

(Dec. 19, 2017) — A letter received on Monday from an inmate at the privately-owned Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, TN states that “relationships” between inmates and correction officers are to blame for the importation of contraband items into the facility on a regular basis.

As this publication and Nashville’s WSMV have reported, the CoreCivic-operated TTCC has been plagued with serious problems endangering both inmates and staff members in its less-than-two-year history.

The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) funds the state’s four private prisons as well as the ten prisons run directly by the state, where threats from gang members, inmate abuse, insufficient food portions, very cold cell temperatures, and retaliation have been reported.

Since shortly after TTCC opened in early 2016, The Post & Email has received scores of letters from inmates and their relatives describing draconian conditions which include uncontrolled gang activity, severe understaffing, irregular meal schedules and cold food, non-dispensing of prescription medications, and a lack of employment opportunities, among other shortcomings.

Some of the reports have been corroborated by State Rep. John Ray Clemmons and a former CoreCivic chaplain who last worked at TTCC.  In addition, a State Comptroller’s report issued last month cited TTCC and two other CoreCivic prisons as operating with significant deficiencies in the areas of staffing and record-keeping.

Drugs and other contraband such as cellular phones have been reported as being commonplace within TTCC and other Tennessee prisons.  Fatal overdosing from drugs brought in to TTCC was reported by Grenda Ray Harmer, who resided there for approximately nine months.

In his letter, the inmate cited TCA 41-21-241 as the law controlling relationships between inmates and corrections staff.  The Lexis-Nexis entry for the law indicates that the statute has been “transferred,” although it does not say where.

Justia indicated the same information.  However, an internet search referring to the issue brings the researcher to TCA 39-16-408. That statute reads:

On page 1 of his letter, the inmate wrote, “There is zero tolerance for inmates/employee relationships per TCA Code 41-21-241 Here what the wardens are keeping secret from the puble the wardens will not inforce the zero tolerance for social relationships so here the problem staff supply inmates with cell phones, drugs of any kind weapons or anything else the inmates to get the money to paid employees to bring into this prison…” [sic]

His correspondence reads, minus identifying information:

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