Former prison chaplain sues CoreCivic - WSMV News 4

Former prison chaplain sues CoreCivic

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(WSMV file) (WSMV file)

CoreCivic is facing another lawsuit, this time from a former employee.

The private prison company manages four institutions for the state of Tennessee, including Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

The former chaplain at that facility is now asking for more than $2 million, claiming she was unfairly fired and publicly defamed.

“Trousdale Turner is like no other facility I’ve ever experienced,” Jacque Steubbel said.

Steubbel had worked at three CoreCivic facilities before taking the chaplain job at Trousdale Turner. She told the News 4 I-Team she made complaints there and was fired.

Her story wasn’t a surprise to families of inmates at Trousdale Turner.

“The one hope the prison has is the sanctuary of religious services, and it was systematically and routinely taken away through extended counts, lockdowns, religious volunteers not allowed to come into the facility. And it was very, very frustrating,” Steubbel said.

Steubbel is now suing her former employer for wrongful termination and defamation of character. In the suit, she claims she saw rules and, in some cases, laws being broken inside the prison. But when she brought it to the attention of supervisors in memos and emails, she was instructed to “stop putting so much on paper.”

Steubbel also accuses CoreCivic of denying inmates and volunteers access to religious services.

“I had ministers who would drive from Nashville as volunteers, and they would find out when they got there the facility was on lockdown,” Steubbel said.

Steubbel is demanding the maximum amount of compensation allowed under the whistleblower law, but far more in damages for what the suit calls “maligning her character.” She cites a web post and statements CoreCivic gave to News 4 to read on air.

The I-Team reached out to CoreCivic for comment on the lawsuit. A representative said:

While we typically don’t comment on pending litigation, we have not been served with this lawsuit as of yet, and I have not read it.

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