by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 3, 2018) — An original letter written by TDOC inmate Jeffery Johnson to Mr. John Fisher, TDOC Regional Director, recounts a July 20, 2018 visit on Fisher’s part to the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC), which is owned and operated by the private corporation CoreCivic.

Although privately-operated, the Tennessee Department of Correction provides “daily” oversight of operations, this publication has been told by TDOC spokeswoman Neysa Taylor.

Johnson has written to us previously on several occasions, enclosing detailed documentation and copies of complaints sent to the U.S. Justice Department and a number of Tennessee officials about the conditions he has reported within the prison to include alleged discrimination on the basis of race.

TTCC has been the subject of much reportage both in Tennessee and in this publication. The state’s newest prison, it reportedly opened in January 2016 with severe short-staffing, a problem which has persisted to the present day, according to dozens of inmate letters received over the course of more than two years.

A November 2017 audit report by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury confirms that the facility is not adequately staffed and “did not follow staffing pattern guidelines.”

“Every time an audit will be coming here, the facility brings people from other places to fulfill the lack of staff,” Johnson wrote in the second paragraph. “That lack of staff is been so bad that, when pill call came to the pod to deliver medicine, they pass it from underneath the door without knowing if the person on the other side is the person that she received the medicine.” [sic]

Johnson also alleged to Fisher that “There are ‘continuously and permanently’ deficiencies in all the departments in this facility. We go weeks without grievances, sick call, no policies or any other documents, available to us — in the pod. Lost Property claims are difficult to redress.”

He invoked a lost property claim submitted by inmate Randall Davis, #167534, who sent copious documentation to this publication of his attempts to obtain reimbursement from CoreCivic as recently as last month for a loss dating to September 2016.

Johnson’s second paragraph contains a reference to an enclosure to his two-page letter on CoreCivic letterhead containing the subheading “Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.” The memo, dated July 21, 2018, has as its subject, “BATTLE OF THE UNITS.”

The memo informs all inmates that TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker was to visit the facility on July 24. “…we want to show them a great facility. With that said, there will be a ‘Battle of the Units’ to show off which unit/pods are the best,” it reads.

It then enumerates a number of housekeeping items to be conducted prior to the visit, to include “Floors shining” and “Chemical/equipment control in place.”  The enticement to each unit was “a meal cooked on the grill (not the chow hall) and provided to them by the Chief of Unit Management” on July 28 at lunchtime.

Johnson concluded his letter by contending that the facilities operation should cease based on “violation of statute 41-24-105 (c).”  The statute to which Johnson referred reads:

As Johnson’s quotation of the section of the statute is slightly different, he could have been utilizing an outdated version of the law.

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