Following a special Metro City Council meeting, Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said there will be a "serious effort" to take over CoreCivic contract in 2020.
In response to a perceived lack of accountability by CoreCivic in regards to a possible scabies outbreak at one of its detention facilities, Metro Council members questioned the sheriff on how the city might go about ending CoreCivic's contract. Council member Kathleen Murphy presided over the meeting, called for CoreCivic leadership to answer questions about the outbreak, in which the Health Department and human resources attended, but CoreCivic did not.
"They have notified me that they do not feel they can come," Murphy said. "I think that is unacceptable that they cannot come and answer basic questions. I understand there are some questions that we ask they feel, legally, that they cannot answer because of pending lawsuit."
A lawsuit was filed by attorney Gary Blackburn on behalf of several Metro employees who say they contracted scabies after coming into contact with a infected inmate brought over from CoreCivic's facility for court.
"Our employees in the courthouse, not just the court officers, but social workers of the specialty courts and others who deal with these clients and inmates on a daily basis, were not notified that they could potentially be exposed to what could be known as scabies," Murphy said.
Following the nearly hour long meeting, Sheriff Hall spoke logistically about how the sheriff's office might take over the contract.
"To just severe the paper today would be dangerous," Hall said. "I mean, it would literally put everybody at risk. There's a ton of work that would go into hiring people and training the people and getting all of the facility up to the counties standards if you will. There's a lot of work that will go into that."
CoreCivic leadership did send a memo to Councilman Murphy about their non-attendance. It in part says this:
"Present litigation makes participation at this time inappropriate, but we appreciate your interest in the health of facility residents."
On Wednesday, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry sent this letter to CoreCivic asking them to pay for costs of Metro employees who contracted scabies and then transferred it to their families. CoreCivic responded with another letter saying they would begin to implement a plan to repay them.
Councilman Murphy said she has personally spoken to some of those employees who said they transferred the parasitic mite to their children, but couldn't afford medication for everyone. Murphy said those families had to split medication among themselves for treatment.