Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Takes Over Nashville’s Last Private Prison Run by CoreCivic


Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCOS) officially assumed management of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility (MDCDF) early Sunday morning.

Sheriff Daron Hall oversaw the swearing in of 118 CoreCivic employees to DCOS employees. Hall compared the new merger to newlyweds.

“To me, this is a marriage, this is our wedding. I don’t know if anybody gets married at six o’clock in the morning outdoors and with masks on and the cold. But this is our wedding. We’re gonna be married. It’s the way I feel,” stated Hall. “Extremely proud of you, and I want you to know as we go forward that we believe we’re a family.”

Mayor John Cooper tweeted the news, endorsing the decision initially promulgated by city council members earlier this year.

“This morning, @NashSheriff has officially taken over managing the former CoreCivic prison. Thank you @DaronHall7 for completing the transition. Nashville has ended its relationship with private prisons.”

CoreCivic has managed the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility for about thirty years. In recent years, their relationship with the Metropolitan Council became strained. Council members Emily Benedict (District 7) and Freddie O’Connell introduced a bill that would prevent the city from contracting out prisons to private entities.

The transition follows CoreCivic’s decision this past July to not extend their contract. The company sent a letter to the sheriff, mayor, and city council which accused them of lying about CoreCivic to promote their political interests. They also warned that the city’s budget would further strain by de-privatizing the prison.

“It appears that you and some members of the Metro Nashville Council are pushing an agenda that’s void of facts, ideologically driven and completely ignores CoreCivic’s decades long history of exceptional performance,” stated the letter. “While we acknowledge that it is Metro’s prerogative to take steps toward ending our contract, we cannot allow our company, more importantly our employees, to be used as a punching bag by political opportunists who do not value the services we provide.”

The city council hoped to extend their contract with CivicCore long enough for a smooth transition between the company and DCOS, but CoreCivic said they wouldn’t “be strung along while Metro takes calculated steps” to end their partnership.

In a statement issued to The Tennessee StarCoreCivic Public Affairs Manager Ryan Gustin explained that their company’s estimate of the city’s burdened budget was based on a study by Sheriff Hall. Gustin also added that Hall admits to never seeing any of the problems cited by city council – rather, the transition was more of a “philosophical change.”

“From the moment this transition was announced, CoreCivic indicated that we would ensure a safe and seamless transition of the MDCDF to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, and earlier today we fulfilled that commitment. We remain proud of the long-term track record of transformative reentry services and operational quality we’ve provided,” stated Gustin. “I would also like to share that the MDCDF facility is a great example of the robust services we have been proud to provide to the individuals in our care. Our dedicated corrections professionals at MDCDF – including teachers, counselors and chaplains – have proudly facilitated a wide range of evidence-based educational services and counseling to help individuals leaving incarceration achieve successes in work and life.”

The company cites that its work with programs like Go Further and Men of Valor, along with 19 other programs and assistance with obtaining GEDs, have helped inmates rejoin their communities.

The Sheriff’s department didn’t issue any comment by press time.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Sheriff Hall at Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility” by the Nashville Sheriff’s Office.




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10 Thoughts to “Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Takes Over Nashville’s Last Private Prison Run by CoreCivic”

  1. Rick

    MayorCommie Cooper is crooked scum , this could not be a good thing, if he is for it. Lying jackass!

  2. 83ragtop50

    I cannot fault CoreCivic for walking (if not running) away from this fiasco. Davidson County has become a disgusting place.

    1. WC_TN

      Privatized corrections was a bad idea from the start. i say goodbye to horrible rubbish. I would kick the company in its entirety out of this state if I had the power to do so. They are a sorry and worthless bunch who only care about their bottom line. You look at how they have been caught in lie after lie at the Idaho Correctional Facility where their officers stood by while an inmate was kicked and beaten into a coma. So severe were that inmate’s injuries that he was granted medical parole. How many other facilities are falling apart because they refuse to PROPERLY maintain the facilities they are contracted to manage? How many inmates have been allowed to die due to medical neglect? How much documentation does it take to run a substandard company like CoreCivic out altogether?

    2. WC_TN

      Why are all my comments against CoreCivic being removed? Is this paper sympathetic to CoreCivic or something?

      1. WC_TN

        I suppose they are taken from view and then when approved, published. My bad. Too impatient I was.

  3. Cannoneer2

    The reason private prisons are popular with politicians is because their cronies are laughing all the way to the bank while operating them.

  4. Julie

    Expect the costs to go up, government never runs things as efficiently as the private sector. However, this is not about money but a belief that it is amoral to make a profit off of incarceration. Expect more efforts later by the Metro Council such as CA or NY style early prisoner release and bail reform measures.

    1. Cannoneer2

      A Georgia study found that private prisons cost about $5.00 more per inmate per day.

      1. Julie

        Freddie is that you? The audit you reference had some data issues but I am not seeing this addressed in follow up articles casually searching. The GEO Group noted that not all services and programs were included in the audit and house appropriations wanted to dig into the numbers more because pensions may not have been included. However, this didn’t stop the legislature from putting forth bill HB 403 to prevent private prisons from operating in the state. Looks like the bill is still pending (2nd reading was Feb. 2019) so many there were issues with the audit?

        1. WC_TN

          If the state you’re referring to is smart, they won’t touch privatized corrections with a 100-mile-long pole!! These people are scum. They could care less about the human beings in their custody. Just look up all the lawsuits they’ve had to pay out over the years.