The old and now deserted Tennessee Prison opened in Nashville during the year of 1898. It later closed down in 1992. But, do you know why it shut down?
The prison shut down due to a class action lawsuit filed in 1983. The Federal Courts issued a permanent injunction that prohibited the state from ever putting another inmate into the old Tennessee State Prison.
The Grubbs V. Bradley case led to the determination that the conditions of living behind the walls was unfit for human habitation. Some prisoners had as little as 19-square feet in their prison cells.
Scotty Grubb and four additional inmates filed a suit on behalf of themselves and others being held in the prison in 1983. The suit alleged rampant violence, improper medical care, poor sanitation and overcrowding. Violence, according to court documents, included rape, robbery, stabbings, inmate vs. guard violence, guard vs. inmate violence and murder.
In the medical hospital on site, prisoners who were trustees were said to be involved in the direct delivery of health care. The inmates, who were completely exempt of certifications, licensure or training in the health care industry, assisted in examinations, surgeries, cleaning medical equipment, reviewing inmate medical records and more.
As a result of the court findings, the old Tennessee Prison eventually shut down.
Tennessee Department of Correction opened a the new Riverbend Maximum Security Institution at Nashville in 1989.
Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F. Supp. 1052 (M.D. Tenn. 1982)