A lawsuit alleges that one of country’s biggest private prison facilities is letting inmates kill each other.
The suit was filed against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) — a multi-billion dollar company operating 88 facilities in 20 states — after four inmates died in a Sept. 15 fight, which lasted just two minutes and yet became the deadliest incident in the history of Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections.
Kyle Tiffee, along with the other members of the Irish Mob prison gang, were preparing for a violent altercation with the members of the United Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang that shared a housing pod with them. In just two minutes, Tiffee lay stabbed and bleeding on the floor from wounds inflicted by improvised weapons made form light fixtures. When the guards arrived, they maced Tiffee while a nurse attempted to tend to the prisoners’ life-threatening wounds. Four inmates were taken to the hospital, where they died.
One of the guards mentioned in the complaint, Terrance Lockett, was accused of idly standing by and watching the bloodbath play out; however, he denies the allegations, claiming the fight happened too fast for him to intervene. He also said when he tried to warn his superior that a fight between gangs would break out, he was told to “call back” when it actually happened.
Although it is possible the clash and the guards’ violent response to it was caught on security cameras, the footage remains undisclosed in the hands of the CCA.
The lawsuit also claims internal corruption enables these prison gangs to fight to the death. Just one month after the deadly fight, Lockett and another prison guard from Cimarron, Megan Hood, were called in for reportedly smuggling contraband into the facilities to sell to the inmates.
Hood said she wanted to use the $2,000 one of the inmates promised her for two cell phones to get away from her abusive spouse. Lockett has been accused of bringing in drugs, including marijuana and meth into the prison.
This isn’t the first lawsuit to hit CCA. There have been lawsuits going back to 2014, including one in which a prisoner had to have his testicle removed after the staff repeatedly ignored his cries of pain for months. Another prisoner said he was refused chemotherapy after he had a tumor removed. Yet another said his swollen hands were ignored by the medical staff. Eventually doctors found two of his fingers were broken — and had to rebreak them to treat the injury properly.
One prisoner cracked his vertebrae when he slipped in one of the showers that were supposed to be closed at the time, but it was weeks before he was finally taken to the hospital.
The lawsuit notes CCA’s huge income which claims to provide Oklahomans with the “highest standards of quality.” Taxpayers in the state paid almost $2.3 million a month last year to run the prisons — and all they got for their hard-earned money was the deadliest prison fight in history.