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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Private Prisoner Escapes & Shoots Cop

NASHVILLE (CN) - Corrections Corporation of America let an inmate escape from a private prison in Mississippi and steal a guard's gun, which he used to shoot a police officer five times, the officer and his wife claim in Davidson County Court.

Mark Chesnut says CCA let an inmate from its Delta Correctional Facility in Greenwood, Miss., steal a guard's gun at an off-site doctor's appointment, then take it on the lam to Nashville.

Chesnut, 22, says escapee Joseph Jackson shot him in the chest, stomach and arm after Chesnut pulled him over for a routine traffic stop on June 25.

Jackson was serving a life sentence for aggravated robbery and assault.

CCA is the largest private prison company in the nation; it houses about 75,000 offenders. Chestnut says CCA was in charge of Jackson and is liable for the $14 million in damages he suffered.

"In exchange for its lucrative private contracts," CCA should have been able to protect the public from prisoners like Jackson, Chestnut says. He says CCA did not follow standard prison regulations at its Delta prison.

Contrary to policy, Jackson was told two weeks in advance about his off-site appointment, which gave him plenty of time to tell his accomplice where and when to meet him, Chesnut says.

On the morning of June 25, with only two unarmed guards and one small, armed female guard accompanying him, Jackson's accomplice showed up at the doctor's office and shot two rounds into the ceiling, according to the complaint. The only armed guard decided to call for help instead of using her gun, and Jackson took her phone and gun, Chesnut says.

Chestnut says that if he had not been able to put his car in reverse while he ran a check on Jackson, the escapee would have killed him.

Jackson and his accomplice were arrested after Chestnut, with eight bullet holes in him, called in their descriptions.

The Chestnuts seek damages for negligence and pain and suffering. They are represented by David Raybin and David Weissman with Hollins, Wagster, Weatherly and Raybin.

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