Two Tennessee prisoners who tested positive for COVID-19 have died this week, bringing the state’s total number of incarcerated deaths since the start of the pandemic to eight.
The Tennessee Department of Correction reported one new death at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville. It’s the second coronavirus-related fatality at the prison, where more than 40 people have tested positive and 81 results are still pending.
A second man has also recently died at the Whiteville Correctional Facility, where about 40 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. The West Tennessee prison is operated by Brentwood-based private corrections company CoreCivic.
Both men who died at the Whiteville prison were considerably younger than others who have succumbed to the virus — just 32 and 26, respectively. A spokesperson for CoreCivic says the 32-year-old had tested negative twice at the facility but tested positive during a preliminary autopsy after his death. TDOC says that the 26-year-old had underlying health conditions.
More than 3,200 Tennessee state prisoners have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. The largest outbreaks have been at the Northwest Correctional Complex (805) and Bledsoe County Correctional Complex (589), which are state-run, and the Trousdale Turner Correctional Complex (1,382), which is managed by CoreCivic.
TDOC could not provide specifics about those who have died, due to health privacy laws. The agency has provided a breakdown of prison fatalities by facility, age and gender:
- May 4: Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, 67, male
- May 7: Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, 78, male
- May 12: Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, 64, male
- May 14: Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, 71, male
- July 27: Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility, 57, male
- July 28: Whiteville Correctional Facility, 32, male
- August 9: Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility, 55, male
- August 10: Whiteville Correctional Facility, 26, male
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.