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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Protests at the Nashville headquarters of CoreCivic on Monday drew new attention to three lawsuits filed by inmates at the company’s Hartsville prison.

Inmates are alleging that diabetics are receiving inadequate care at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center by being denied timely access to insulin shots to control blood sugar.

A class-action lawsuit filed earlier this year by inmate Douglas Dodson alleges that inmates sometimes wait hours after meals to receive insulin shots because of understaffing and frequent lockdowns at the prison. Diabetics typically inject insulin when they eat.

RELATED LINK: Complaint filing against CoreCivic (PDF) 

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

Former Trousdale inmate Thomas Leach filed a lawsuit in 2016 making similar claims against the Hartsville prison, and a third lawsuit was filed earlier this year after the death of inmate Jonathan Salada, who allegedly spent days in excruciating pain because of diabetes complications.

CoreCivic has denied wrongdoing in all three lawsuits. According to a report in The Tennessean, the company claimed in a court filing that Dodson and the other inmates have documented histories of skipping meals, refusing insulin shots, using illegal drugs and buying sugary snacks at the prison store in “willful non-compliance” with a diabetic diet.

In a statement on Tuesday, CoreCivic declined to respond to discuss the specifics of the lawsuits but said it is committed to “high-quality healthcare” for inmates and “appropriate levels of staffing” in company facilities.

At a recent meeting of Trousdale County’s Prison Oversight Committee, Warden Russell Washburn stated that CoreCivic recently terminated its contract with a third-party company to provide inmate healthcare at TTCC and brought that department back under company control.

The American Diabetes Association has filed a court motion in March to join the class-action lawsuit against CoreCivic.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Contributing: Staff reports