In the spotlight currently is Sullivan County Jail located in Blountville, Tennesse. This department was recently featured on National Geographic’s “Southern Justice”. Of course, the truth was not shown or exposed, so we decided to put it here so you can review and draw your own conclusions.
We received the following as a message on July 11th;
As the director for Prison Reform Movement (a national grassroots group dedicated to Criminal Justice reform), I was absolutely sickened to receive the following message. Identifying information was redacted due of the reality of retaliation:
“I wanted to call to your attention an incident that occurred at Sullivan Co., TN, jail Monday, July 6, 2015. Inmates were awakened around 9:15 am with a ‘flash bang’; this was followed by pepper balls being fired into the housing unit at the sleeping inmates. 10-15 officers dressed in riot gear and face masks then entered the pod, while others stayed at the bars and continued to fire on inmates. After being fired on, inmates were told to get down on the ground. They were made to crawl from the back of the housing unit to the front; those who could not crawl fast enough were dragged. One of the ones who was dragged was an inmate that has a colostomy; after being dragged, he was stomped in the back as were other inmates. A black inmate was told by a white officer that he would be taken out of view of the camera and have his teeth knocked down his throat. The inmates were strip searched and the housing unit shook down; inmate belongings were scattered. My husband, who is mentally ill, called me to tell me what was happening. Because he was on the phone with me reporting the attack, more pepper balls were fired in his direction; I could hear a female officer in the background yelling out orders…she was telling him to shut up. Since the attack on these inmates, several are experiencing symptoms of PTSD including anxiety, sleeplessness, panicked feelings when officers come near the pod, etc. When I spoke with the black inmate, he told me he felt afraid. Fearing retaliation against my husband, I cannot go to the press with this. I have contacted an attorney – Most attorneys are afraid to take such cases because it can be professional suicide. I would like another attorney option. Any advice you could have would be most appreciated. I am concerned that the trauma of this attack will trigger a psychotic episode with my husband; the effects of trauma are not always immediate.
and then there is this:
Inmate found hanging at Sullivan County Detention Center
There’s an investigation underway after an inmate was found hanging in his cell at the Sullivan County Detention Center.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office reported officers checked the area and found Joey Edward Cunningham just before 9pm Monday. He was hanging by a sheet tied to an air vent.
Cunningham faced charges of initiation of process intended to manufacture methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He’d been incarcerated since June 11.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will investigate his death. Via WCYB Channel 5
Yes, Southern Justice at its finest, right? Shame on National Geographic…glossing over the real issues and celebrating the abusive criminal justice system.
Season 2 of Southern Justice premieres Wednesday, July 15th at 10:00PM on the National Geographic Channel.