NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville branch of the NAACP is calling for the closure of the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center citing its "barbaric treatment" of African American men.
The NAACP called for the private prison's closure during a news briefing, Thursday. The organization also called for the state and U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Trousdale Turner's treatment of Black men.
Watch the full press conference below:
NAACP Nashville President Sheryl Guinn said they have received an "inordinate" amount of complaints about Trousdale Turner, which has alarmed them.
Guinn said they have gotten reports detailing the "brutal" treatment of inmates, the majority of whom are Black men. She said they have also heard disturbing reports of guards beating inmates until they are "bloody" and inmates not receiving adequate medical care — and in some cases being denied medical care.
The same guards allegedly used racist remarks while beating inmates. Once an inmate spoke out to prison staff, guards are reprimanded. Guards are then suspected of paying gang members to finish the beatings as a form of retaliation.
Senator Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) said she has heard similar reports and said she receives more complaints from Trousdale Turner than any other correctional facility.
Gilmore said she's not opposed to introducing legislation to cut ties with for-profit prison companies. That begins with an investigation on both the state and federal level.
"The bottom line with CoreCivic is money. So I think that they're taking shortcuts and as a result of them taking shortcuts and being understaffed, these prisoners are being treated less than human," Gilmore said.
We also heard from Martha Carter who spoke about her still incarcerated son. She says he was diagnosed with blood cancer after complaining about his injuries that were never properly treated.
A tearful Carter said she thinks about her son every day and says it's time an investigation brought an end to the facility.
"We think about him all the time. That he's alone and sick. They won't give him special care or help," Carter said.
Members of the NAACP said they have not heard back from CoreCivic. We contacted the company and they offered the following statement:
"These unsubstantiated claims are inaccurate and misinformed. In both policy and practice, CoreCivic respects the dignity of every individual entrusted to our care, and we take any claims to the contrary seriously. We have clear lines of communication for those in our care to make concerns known. These concerns can be shared without fear of repercussion. Channels include in-facility reporting, a company-wide hotline accessible anonymously internally and externally, or directly to our government partners. In addition, CoreCivic has a detailed Human Rights Policy that clearly outlines our commitments regarding inmate rights and treatment including legal rights, safety and security, healthcare, reentry programming, visitation and standards of living. We train 100% of our professionals on this policy before their first day of work.
Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) provides those in our care comprehensive medical and mental health care. TTCC is monitored very closely by our government partners at the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) who employ two, full-time on-site contract monitors at TTCC that work to ensure our full compliance with prescribed policies and procedures. TDOC also conducts regular reviews and audits of the entire facility to ensure appropriate standard of living for all inmates."
Members of the NAACP says they've heard back from the Department of Justice who have heard a number of these complaints against the facility. They say there have been several calls from inmates over the past year, but the DOJ has not confirmed an investigation.