Judge urges Tenn. private prison to improve meds policy

November 18, 2017

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Officials at a private Tennessee prison are reworking policies to ensure inmates get prescription medications more quickly.

A Hamilton County judge, Tom Greenholtz, has heard allegations from inmates that the prison takes several weeks to verify new inmates’ prescriptions.

Prison officials at Silverdale Detention Facilities say they are working on a new procedure that would cut the wait time to 48 hours.

Greenholtz began looking into poor medical management allegations in August after a local inmate wrote that Silverdale wasn’t treating his bone cancer or broken shoulder.

Officials at Silverdale say one problem causing delays is that they cannot accept open prescription bottles because they can’t verify what’s inside, and they don’t want inmates mixing medicine with contraband like methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin, The Times Free press reported .

Another Silverdale inmate said on her first day, a group of inmates slammed her head into the floor and stabbed her in the ear with a pencil.

Krystle Giles reported her injuries, but prison officials found “no evidence” she was attacked, her court records show. So she wrote Greenholtz a letter, and he arranged a hearing.

Silverdale “told me this morning there was no evidence that you’d been stabbed, and I just don’t believe that,” he said at the hearing on Nov. 1. “Can you come closer for me and let me see?”

Giles walked to the bench and lifted her hair above her ear. “You can see where I been stabbed,” she said.

He released Giles so she could get her head checked at a local hospital, then sentenced her to four years in prison for a separate forgery case when she returned the next week.

Greenholtz said Wednesday that the prison’s parent company, CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, has undergone a thorough review of its policies and procedures and is making needed changes.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com