A $10 million settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit against CoreCivic, a private prison operator, for the recent death of a man who was assaulted by his cellmate, according to The Associated Press.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Daniel Horwitz who represents the mother of the man killed in February 2021 at CoreCivic’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Nashville, Tenn.
The suit claimed understaffing at the facility contributed to the death of Terry Childress because correctional officers were not making timely welfare checks.
Horwitz said in social media posts that CoreCivic is a “death factory” that “juices its profit margins by deliberately understaffing facilities and skimping on healthcare” and who facilities have easier access to illicit drugs by the incarcerated “than almost anywhere else in America.”
U.S. Judge Jeffery Frensley later granted a request by CoreCivic for those posts to be deleted, said the AP article. The judge’s order received national media attention.
CoreCivic spokesperson Matthew Davio said the settlement terms are confidential and the company is “pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable resolution in this case.”
In addition to seeking monetary damages, the lawsuit requested the judge to declare that levels of inmate safety at the facility did not meet constitutional requirements. The suit also called for an independent monitor to conduct unannounced inspections.
Although CoreCivic has denied the allegations in this case, two previous state audits in 2017 and 2020 resulted in $2 million in fines against CoreCivic. The audits found understaffing issues and inaccurate data on prisoner deaths, facility lockdowns, and corrections officers’ use of force, the article noted.
Trousdale Turner houses about 2,500 incarcerated people, more than any other prison in Tennessee.