Tennessee: SCCF Inmate Reports Second Water Shutoff, Correction Officer Assault, Rescue

INMATE SEES “DEHUMANIZING LIVING CONDITIONS” AS “PUNISHMENT” FOR AIDING OFFICER

by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 29, 2018) — A letter arriving on Wednesday from an inmate at Tennessee’s South Central Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Clifton describes conditions potentially hazardous to health and well-being ultimately attributed to “understaffing and undertraining of corrections officers” at the facility.

However, the inmate drew a direct connection between a group of inmates coming to the aid of a correction officer when she was allegedly assaulted by another inmate and the turning-off of the water to the pod, creating what he said was a medical and health risk, particularly for those inmates taking prescription medications.

South Central is operated by the private company CoreCivic although owned by the State of Tennessee.

The inmate wrote in his letter that on the evening of August 5, a female correction officer was assaulted, then rescued by a number of other inmates. “This female corrections officer put her life jeopardy and the lives of other inmates by acting inappropriately with inmates, using sex as an empolyment tool,” [sic] he wrote at the bottom of page 1.

Page 2 begins with, “The inmates who protected this corrections officer, alone with myself are being subjected to dehumanizing living conditions, that could have been avoided if, she had acted according to the color of law.” [sic]

The inmate explained that the following day, the water to the unit was shut off without warning, causing a potential health crisis. Additionally, he said, cell searches were carried out on those believed to belong to the Crips gang.

A lack of running water at the facility was reported last fall resulting in the same risks to health, according to the inmate.  An investigation by WSMV in Nashville at approximately the same time yielded the conclusion that at least one section of the prison was plagued by bedbugs, as the inmate had alleged in a letter to the station in which he enclosed several of the insects in question.

“I am trying to digest why inmates are being subjected to dehumanizing living conditions as a punishment (lockdown), for saving this female corrections officer from a brutal beating, and possibly saving her life,” the Ajugust 24, 2018 letter continues.

In closing, the inmate indicated that “the pod was locked down for more than a week,” meaning that inmates were restricted to their cells more than usual. “…these lockdowns are truly hard on a diabetic and other people with chronic conditions,” he wrote. “Medication is often used as a tool of punishment…but…the real reasons why so much unbelievable acts take place here is due to understaffing and undertraining of corrections officers at SCCF.”

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