By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s newest prison has stopped taking inmates after just four months of full operation. Records obtained by The Associated Press suggest why.
State corrections officials and the private prisons operator Corrections Corporation of America confirmed to the AP that the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center halted new admissions two weeks ago, leaving the 2500-inmate prison about two-thirds full.
A company spokesman on Tuesday blamed “growing pains.” Both said the decision was made jointly.
“We’re holding off on sending more prisoners until CCA has an opportunity to increase its recruiting efforts and staffing,” Tennessee Department of Correction Assistant Commissioner Tony Parker told the AP.
The prison in Hartsville began receiving inmates in January, between 50 and 100 each week. By early March, its warden was replaced. CCA provided few details about the change of command.
But a March 17 report to Parker from his Correctional Administrator Tony Howerton, who observed the prison over two days, outlines a series of problems.
The memo — obtained by the AP through an open records request for public documents about the taxpayer-funded facility — says the guards were not in control of the housing units, were not counting inmates correctly, and were putting inmates in solitary confinement for no documented reason.