Private prison firm to settle case on death of prisoner


Nashville, Tenn. , A private prison company has agreed to settle a federal trial over the murder of a Tennessee inmate that gained national attention after a judge ordered plaintiffs’ attorneys to stop tweeting about it.

Tennessee-based Korsivic and attorney Daniel Horvitz, who represents the family of the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center inmate who died, noted the settlement in a federal court filing in Nashville on Tuesday.

Plaintiff in the lawsuit is Mary Newby, the mother-in-law of Terry Childress, who died in February 2021 after being assaulted by her cellmate, court records show. The lawsuit, blaming low staffing levels, claims that corrections officers were not making the rounds in time. It demanded $10 million for Newby.

CoreCivic spokesman Matthew Davio said the terms of the settlement are confidential, adding that the company is “delighted to have reached a mutually agreed solution in this matter.”

Horwitz said he was unable to comment because of last month’s gag order. A judge still needs to approve the settlement.

The suit asked the judge to declare that Korsevi had failed to maintain a constitutionally required level of prisoner protection at Trousdale. About 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Nashville, there are about 2,500 inmates, the most of any Tennessee prison. The suit also sought the appointment of an independent monitor to conduct regular unannounced inspections of Trousdale. If the inspector were to find that the prison had not fixed its “illegal” problems, the judge should close the facility, the suit argued.

CoreCivic, which has denied all allegations in the lawsuit, faced scrutiny in 2017 and 2020 at state comptroller audits. Those reports were found to be lacking and said officials were not compiling accurate data on prisoner deaths, facility lockdowns and use of force by corrections officers. State corrections officials fined the company $2 million for problems in Trousdale.

In a social media post, Horwitz wrote that CoreCivic is a “death factory”, “juicing up its profit margins by deliberately undercutting facilities and skimping on health care” and that its facilities “have more than almost anywhere else in the US.” In comparison” makes it easier to obtain drugs.

In late July, US Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Franksley sided with Korsivic in ordering Horwitz to delete those tweets and stop commenting on the case.

Frinsley also determined that Horwitz made the remarks inappropriately. Twitter regarding statements from other CoreCivic cases that he improperly filed in court.

In a court filing, the company called Horwitz’s posts “extraordinarily vicious in his action” and wrote, “he is wrong” and a violation of court rules. Frensley sided with Korsivic, writing that “litigations take place in the courtroom, not in the media.”

Horwitz has asked the court to overturn the gag order, saying Frensley’s analysis “fails on several levels,” including First Amendment free-speech protection. He claims a withdrawal order for social media and other communications serves “no purpose beyond crude censorship.”

The court has not yet ruled on the issue.


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