Tennessee prison offers unit for military veterans

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In October of 2019, the veterans unit at Turney Center Industrial Complex was started with the focus of helping inmates who served in the military.

“You fought and protected that flag and to see one side of the pod dedicated it makes you feel good,” said Marcus Antwon Phillips, who is a veteran serving time. Phillips joined the army in 2008.

“I had about two deployments in me then I got in trouble in 2013,” said Phillips.

Phillips lives in the veterans housing unit, which is designed to address the needs of veterans.

“Once I got out (of the army) I was having a lot of issues PTSD Nightmares,” said Phillips.

Vicki Grinder helps the inmates deal with PTSD and substance abuse.

“We have graduated one class and we are getting ready to graduate our second,” said Grinder.

The 16-week program is aimed at helping the inmates cope with any troubles they might run into.

Warden Kevin Genovese says with support from other veterans in the unit, the inmates push each other to be better.

“You can see the changes in the guys that live amongst each other in the pod because of the pure support it provides,” said Genovese.

“It is easier to talk to someone that has been through the same thing you have been through,” said Phillips.

Warden Genovese says he hopes to see more programs across the state.

There are currently 128 veteran inmates in the unit at Turney Center.

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