Attorney who sued CoreCivic over scabies says investigation needed

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The attorney who sued CoreCivic amid the scabies outbreak penned a letter saying accusations against the prison contractor need to be investigated.

Gary Blackburn outlined the accusations and his recommendation in a letter to the director of the Metro Public Health Department.

Blackburn says an investigation needs to be led by the health department, sheriff’s office, “and possibly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“While we cannot vouch for the accuracy of everything we have been told, the consistency of the accusations is convincing,” the Nashville lawyer writes.

“In just the last two days alone, we have received two phone calls and a handwritten letter with complaints similar to those in the memorandum,”

The memorandum, which was went along with the letter, outlines 20 complaints about “failure to provide medications and medical treatment to inmates,” claiming these failures are “systematic and with intention” by CoreCivic, which runs a Nashville jail facility that houses both male and female inmates.

Among the complaints are accusations a mental health physician was absent for at a least a month and walked off the job, “during which time no mental health patients were prescribed any medication.”

Another accusation states “a significant amount of medication is routinely ‘lost’ by the staff,” and another says a male inmate with a colostomy bag hasn’t received sufficient replacements “and is forced to rinse the bag out in the sink that is used by all of the inmates.

Click here to the entire memorandum.

Blackburn concludes his letter by questioning if whether or not the Metro-Nashville government should continue its relationship with CoreCivic. Read the full letter here.

Blackburn is just one of several who have sued the private prison company due to a scabies outbreak first reported last spring. CoreCivic also faces lawsuits from former inmates and a probation officer.

The outbreak was first reported on June 1 when officials said around 39 female inmates were found to be contaminated with the scabies rash. It reportedly led to dozens of people being affected at the Nashville courthouse, including employees, lawyers, and members of the general public. It also spread to the men’s facility at the jail with at least two cases reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, scabies is caused by an infestation on the skin of the human itch mite. The mite burrows into the upper layer of skin where it lives and lays eggs, causing intense itching and a pimple-like rash.

The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Click here to read more from the CDC.