By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

State and county leaders, along with company officials, turned out Friday to celebrate the official opening of CCA’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility.

The $140 million facility, which sits on 107 acres at the PowerCom industrial site, will begin receiving inmates in January and is bringing over 400 jobs to Trousdale County.

Over 200 people came out to Friday’s invitation-only event, which marked the grand opening.

“We’re especially grateful to the state of Tennessee for trusting Trousdale County and CCA with the opportunity to meet the state’s correctional needs, while bringing this level of development and opportunity to Trousdale County,” said Jerry Lankford, Senior Director of Business Development.

The opening is the culmination of plans that began in 2007 and were put on hold for a number of years before construction began last year. The facility is named for Jimmy Turner, who spent over 25 years with CCA before passing away in 2014.

“I couldn’t be more proud that CCA is becoming a part of this community,” said Damon Hininger, President and Chief Executive Officer of CCA. “The concept of community is central to the way CCA operates as a company.”

Hininger also mentioned over 10 programs to benefit those housed at the 2,552-bed prison, saying, “These programs will provide inmates with a variety of skills needed for release, including substance abuse treatment, education, job training; as well as programs that help offenders recognize and change negative behavior patterns.”

Hininger also said, “Our top priority is to still preserve the safety and security of the public.” To that end, Trousdale Turner uses state-of-the-art camera systems, electrified fences, and other security features.

Also addressing the crowd were Todd Thomas, warden of the Trousdale Turner facility; Derrick Schofield, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Corrections; County Mayor Carroll Carman; Mark Beeler, chairman of the County Commission; State Sen. Ferrell Haile and State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver.

“I’m just delighted to think that this facility is coming to our little community and that they will be good neighbors,” Carman said. “I truly believe that… this is going to be good for the county. All the quality I see in the people I see in this facility.”

“We can’t look anywhere else and see such an investment that is made toward our future,” added Beeler. “You are providing stable employment for a large number of people, you’re becoming a taxpaying contributor to our county.”

Tours were offered to those in attendance on Friday, as well as during an open house on Monday that was open to the public.

Over 130 people were shown around the facility, according to CCA officials, and they saw prisoner dining areas, cellblocks, the prison library and chapel, and educational/vocational facilities.

CCA staffers conducted the tours and answered questions from local citizens.

“It looks like it’s very well made and going to be very well staffed,” said Margaret Carman after one of the tours. “I hope it’s a really good thing for Trousdale County.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected].