Article about Tennessee CoreCivic death rate that mentions HRDC
Hardeman County Correctional Facility officers found Albert Dorsey unresponsive in his cell on Sept. 14. Less than an hour later, he was pronounced dead.
Dorsey's death was first called in as an attempted suicide, according to the county medical examiner's report. He was in his cell alone, and "no one else had access," according to notes scrawled in the report's margins.
According to Dorsey's recently released autopsy report, he was killed. An investigation is ongoing.
Dorsey, 60, is the fourth incarcerated person killed at Hardeman County Correctional Facility since October 2014.
The prison, a minimum- to medium-security facility run by private prison corporation CoreCivic, accounts for more than 30% of all recorded homicides in Tennessee prisons over the past five years, despite housing just 9% of Tennessee’s inmates.
The rest of CoreCivic’s Tennessee prisons aren’t much different: The corporation’s four Tennessee facilities hold roughly 35% of the state’s prison population but accounted for about 63% of the state’s prison homicides.
A Jackson Sun review of five years of data reveals that even when controlled for similar inmate populations, the homicide rate at CoreCivic-run Tennessee prisons is more than twice the homicide rate of prisons run by the Tennessee Department of Correction.
"Even one death in our facilities is too many, and we're always working to improve," CoreCivic spokesperson Amanda Gilchrist wrote in response to CoreCivic's homicide statistics.
Smaller population, more than twice the homicide rate
The comparatively high rate of homicides in CoreCivic's Tennessee facilities has been scrutinized before.
The Human Rights Defense Center and the No Exceptions Prison Collective published a statement in July that used average total population counts from March 2014 through June 2019 to determine that CoreCivic's homicide rate during that time was more than four times higher than that of TDOC.
CoreCivic called the statement "misleading" and issued a statement of its own. The corporation listed several points of contention:
- "A facility that holds a higher concentration of inmates convicted of murder or other violent crimes — as is the case with CoreCivic's Tennessee facilities — would be expected to have a higher homicide rate."
- "Nearly the entirety of the population that CoreCivic holds is medium-security custody and above," compared with TDOC's population, which it said has less violent offenders.
- CoreCivic does not hold female populations, which CoreCivic says are statistically less disposed toward violent crime.