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by Robert Z. Whipple, III, ©2019

Discussion and graphic: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD)

(Oct. 23, 2019) — [Editor’s Note:  The following email was sent to TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker; TDOC Communications Director Neysa Taylor; CoreCivic CEO Damon Hininger and other company officials; and more than a dozen members of the media, including this reporter.

CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), operates four prisons in Tennessee, one of which, the Trousdale Turner Correction Center (TTCC), it owns outright.  Since early 2016, The Post & Email has reported a myriad of allegations on conditions at the facility claimed by dozens of inmates in scores of letters and documentation.

Whipple, a former Tennessee inmate and diabetic himself, described in numerous communications while incarcerated the difficulties he encountered in receiving treatment in the form of medicine, exercise and diabetic footwear, for which he was provided a doctor’s prescription. Ultimately, his family purchased the shoes after the TDOC failed to procure them through its standard medical route.

In June 2017, WSMV in Nashville produced a four-part series on TTCC which remains online today despite CoreCivic’s claim that then-senior investigative journalist Demetria Kalodimos’s reporting was inaccurate.  Other reports on the facility followed.

Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) is another of Tennessee’s CoreCivic-run prison.

Whipple’s letter follows.]

I am an advocate and friend of Bobby Parris #400602. He was recently transferred to Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) and has diabetes and diabetic neuropathy, which is a serious medical need (see Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout your body. Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.For several years prior to being transferred to your WCF, he was treated with gabapentin.

The day after Mr. Parris arrived at WCF, your Nurse Practitioner told him they’d “ween him off” because CoreCivic doesn’t want to pay for a “bunch of expensive meds.” On October 17, Parris was given his morning dose of gabapentin, but not his evening dose. On October 18, Parris went to the clinic for blood work and asked to speak with the Nurse Practitioner because he thought the medication orders were in error. Another nurse came out of an office and informed Parris that CoreCivic’s doctor cut the meds in half, and he insisted that without his full dosage, he would be in a great deal of pain (his dose was previously lowered on a trial basis, and promptly had to be restored to the higher level) and to inform this nurse that he has an Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and this means prison administrators must provide medical care for his serious medical needs. This nurse became hostile and aggressive, told Parris that they could do whatever they wanted and don’t care about the constitution. This nurse then cancelled his meds altogether in retaliation for his trying to assert his rights (such retaliation is a separate violation of Parris’s civil rights–see Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378 (6th. Cir. 1999)). Since being denied all medical treatment for his diabetic neuropathy, Parris has experienced nausea, fever, dry heaves, tremors, and severe pain and extreme mental anguish.

I am sending CCing TDOC officials and the media on this email. I invite you to respond and take steps to remedy this civil rights violation.

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  1. This is sickning my brother was recently released after doing 27yrs straight. He came home so very sick the prison had no medical follow up. nor no info on any meds any conditions or no medical reports of his to bring home from Trousdale Turner Correction Facility. My brother was hurt by falling as he was exiting the prison they wiped him from blood nd help us place him n our vehicle we had to travel to Parkwest hospital in knoxville tn. He had a broken elbow from the fall he had other bruises nd injuries from bfor his release. My brother was flown from prison n helicopter nd many times he was taken in ambulance nd never not once did the prison or any prison notify me nor any family of his injuries thru out the 27yrs nd at his stay in trousdale was horrible medical treatment they would torture him wth his illnesses nd neglect. Im looking for an atty to represent my brother nd myself he had stroke no notification he was stabbed 27xs nd never was i notified. There was injuries when we got him to knoxville tn nd dr’s had to treat him here. This is humiliation nd torture nd neglect from medical staff nd correction officers. Few correction officers told me @his parole hearing a yr nd few months bfor he was released. That my brother was not being cared for correctly they stated he need be out of there he deserved to be home nd have real honest medical help. They had nothing in place for his release consist of him making a life on outside no help from parole office no help for any medical treatment he has since released his 1st week he fell broke his hip. He had no insurance no rehabilitation due to patricia neal saying they cant help him because he has no social life on outside nd because his criminal history no ins they cant help him with inhouse rehab. I feel its been discrimination because refuse him treatment for he was incarsirated nd his criminal history nd his social history. He never wanted to brake his elbow nd for sure never planned to be so weak from no rehabilitation in prison after his stroke nd other injuries he cant help he fell broke his hip soon aftr his release. He is so weak still to this day wth very little rehab. He is sad depressed nd cant walk or barely talk due to HE HAS NEVER HAD ANY REHABILITATION HE HAS BEEN NEGLECTED DUE TO NEGLECTED IN THE PRISON SYSTEM MORE THAN ONCE TWICE ITS MULTIPLE TIMES. THERE IS LOTS PROOF. PLEASE HELP ME ND MY BROTHER. HE ISNT A NUMBER!! HE IS A BROTHER FATHER UNCLE PAPAW BEST FRIEND MY HERO. MY EVERYTHING. PLS STAND FOR THESE MEN & WOMEN THEY ALL NEED MUCH ATTENTION!!!