‘Half the time they don’t bring’ TN inmate medications

By Sharon Rondeau / Postandemail.com

A letter received May 22 from an inmate at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, Tenn., reinforces numerous reports received over the last year detailing very limited visitation, cold meals served at irregular times, long-term lockdown periods when inmates are confined to their cells for up to 23 hours each day, and inadequate medical care.

A recent three-week lockdown, the inmate reported, stemmed from a short-staffing situation made worse by the termination of a contract with loss of private security guards at the end of March.

Letters from various inmates and their relatives have corroborated the account.

TTCC is owned and operated by CoreCivic, formerly CCA, but receives oversight from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC).  Although slightly short of 17 months into its operation, TTCC has been acknowledged by a TDOC administrator to be out of compliance in regard to its head-counting procedures and for using excessive force against an inmate who appeared on the prison videotape to have been compliant at the time.

Over the last 2+ years, inmates from various Tennessee prisons, including those run by the state, have alleged dozens of instances of excessive use of force by correction officers which goes officially unreported out of fear of retaliation.

A major complaint coming from TTCC inmates and their families is that they are forced to wait hours to be able to visit on designated visitation days.  When relatives are able to visit, the session is short, the inmate said, because the visiting area “only has enough room for 30 inmates to visit at a time.”

He reported that his family members travel 2½ hours each way to visit and have waited up to 6½ hours to see him.  “Once they got in they only got to visit for 45 minutes,” he reported.

The Post & Email has heard from a number of TTCC inmates who wrote that medications are dispensed irregularly, if at all, regardless of the condition for which they were prescribed.  Many opined that they believe the motive in withholding medications is to save the company money.

One inmate, Ricky Lynn Greene, described having experienced his fourth cardiac event but having been told by one of the medical staff that he was “faking it” while it was occurring.

Earlier this year, four TTCC inmates filed a federal lawsuit claiming that CoreCivic, the TDOC and TTCC, specifically, had failed to administer their diabetes medications, including insulin, in a timely and regular manner, thereby putting their health and well-being at risk.

Former TTCC inmate Grenda Harmer described inmates injecting street drugs in full view, from which one reportedly died in January, as well as uncontrolled gang activity and a host of other alleged violations.

Harmer is now at another CoreCivic facility, SCCF, which he has reported is “worse” than TTCC.  He recently went nearly three weeks without three prescribed medications, a situation to which the TDOC and SCCF Warden Cherry Lindamood proved unresponsive.

Read the inmate’s letter here

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