DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Ten assaults on employees, a riot, inmates screaming on the roof, a report of excessive force against a detainee.

In 2019, police were dispatched about violence and disturbances at the state's Mountain View Academy for Young Men in Dandridge at least 15 times, records show.

That was one year -- reflecting only requests for help to the Dandridge Police Department.

Since 2016, there have been at least 50 incidents requiring help from Dandridge police, records show.

Tennessee Department of Children's Services officials, police and the center's private operator acknowledged in November there's a problem at the center, which houses and treats teen offenders in Tennessee convicted of crimes that can be as serious as homicide.

Problems, however, continue to occur.

One section of Mountain View, referred to as the C Unit or Charlie Unit, houses young inmates considered to pose potential security risks.

Most violent incidents have occurred there, but not all. Charlie can hold 24 young men, a portion of the total population. Mountain View has a total of 84 beds.

Prompted by several incidents in November, WBIR obtained and reviewed police reports for the years 2016-2019. Names of the juvenile offenders were redacted; in some instances, alleged staff victims declined to prosecute.

Police Chief Carson Williams knows well the problems at Mountain View. The chief met in November with newly appointed DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols.

Williams has declined comment, deferring to the state to address how to improve conditions at Mountain View.

TrueCore Behavioral Solutions operates Mountain View. It's run the center since July 2017. Some incidents that have happened since 2016 occurred outside their watch.

A TrueCore spokesman released a statement Tuesday to WBIR.

Police from multiple agencies responded to a disturbance Nov. 6 at Mountain View.
Police from multiple agencies responded to a disturbance Nov. 6 at Mountain View. It was the second time in several days that multiple agencies were summoned to the juvenile center.
Jefferson City PD

"The incidents at Mountain View Academy for Young Men in Dandridge have proven challenging, and several youths are now facing charges resulting from their disruptive behavior," the statement reads. "We appreciate the assistance provided by local law enforcement. We thoroughly review the facts of these incidents and will continue to work with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services to make any needed adjustments. The safety of the youth and staff at our facilities and the public are our top priorities."

In early December, several teens briefly escaped from the state Academy of Young Men that TrueCore runs in Nashville on Stewarts Ferry Pike.

RELATED: Police bodycam video, 911 recordings reveal Nov. 3 unrest at youth center

RELATED: It took 24 officers to contain inmates at Mountain View facility in incident 1st reported as medical call

RELATED: Fire, escape attempt and a riot: Police called several times to subdue Mountain View juvenile inmates

RELATED: Mountain View Youth Development Center finds kids on the roof Sunday night, Dandridge PD says


Despite pledges in November by the state and TrueCore to seek improvements, reports obtained by WBIR show disturbances are still erupting at Mountain View.

Dandridge police were called to the Peal Lane facility Jan. 2, 2020. The director informed them "there were several inmates running loose on the prison grounds," a report states.

The teens wouldn't go back to their cells; some had broken out windows.

About 15 officers were summoned to the scene, including personnel from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, THP and the New Market Police Department.

"Police entered through the Administration Building where we observed broken windows and glass doors at the rear of the complex," a report states.

Inside Charlie Unit, they saw more broken windows and glass strewn about. When inmates saw the police, they went to their secure cells.

As police began investigating what had happened, they learned one inmate had been found with items that were prohibited and considered contraband -- an umbrella, a stapler and some hard-bound books, items that could be used as weapons. It's not clear how the young man got them.

Mountain View authorities revoked the unnamed inmate's privileges, which angered off. He destroyed a flat screen TV in the unit, a DVD player and multiple windows.

Police called multiple times to disturbances at Mountain View youth development center

Two other inmates heard the commotion in Charlie Unit and decided to do some damage of their own in the Administration Building, records state.

Police planned to look at video surveillance camera footage that apparently recorded what happened. 

Charges will be filed once police finish looking at the video, according to the Jan. 2 report.


Dandridge police were dispatched at least five times to Mountain View in November, including twice on Nov. 3.

As WBIR has previously reported, a call came in about 7 p.m. Nov. 3 seeking help about four inmates who had "escaped" Charlie Unit's inner fence. Police started a search inside the grounds and were then alerted that the four were back in the unit, according to records.

They learned there'd also been a disturbance inside one of the units during which inmates threw their food on the floor. 

Some 15 officers responded, physically escorting inmates back to their cells in an effort to maintain order.

After securing all the inmates, the officers headed back out on the road. It wasn't long before they'd return, however.

That same night, records and surveillance video showed, one of the young inmates in Charlie Unit used a lighter to set toilet paper on fire. He then tossed the lit paper through "the feeding hole" of his cell door.

The fire set off sprinklers. Floors flooded. The central gathering room was coated in what appeared to be flame retardant. Staff had to release the inmates so they could go outside.

The fire department responded, although they were warned against entering until it was safe. Police also called for a K-9 from Jefferson City Police Department, tapes show.

Police were met by inmates outside throwing rocks at them and taunting them. Dandridge police summoned additional help from neighboring agencies including the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Even the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency showed up.

Three days later, records show, police were back. Four to six teens had become unruly while standing outside.

Several agencies once again responded to offer assistance. A THP trooper Tased an inmate. An employee from the Alpha Unit was sent away for medical treatment.

Dandridge police were met at the scene by TrueCore's chief operating officer, who was filling in because Mountain View's director had quit just a few days beforehand, records state.

Health officials at the center told officers that some of the inmates had "self-inflicted wounds."

Officers search several young inmates this month at Mountain View Academy for Young Men
Officers from the Dandridge Police Department, Jefferson County Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office responded Nov. 3 about a disturbance at Mountain View that included a fire.
Jefferson City PD

During November, police also were notified of several alleged assaults by inmates on staff members -- on Nov. 26, Nov. 19 and Nov. 16.

On Oct. 16, staff officers were trying to move an uncooperative youth into a cell. He tried to stab one guard with a pen but the man's coat cloth prevented any penetration. He then hit the guard with books and headbutted him four times in the face, records state.

Several other reports of assaults and vandalism were reported in September and October. On Oct. 11, a guard told police he'd had to call a "code red" for help after four boys encircled him.

He was shoved to the ground and punched on his head and midsection. Help finally arrived. The guard told officers he sought treatment at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Jefferson City for injuries that included a possible bone fracture near his left eye.

On the night of July 21, 2019, a Dandridge police sergeant spotted numerous inmates on the roof of one of Mountain View's buildings. They were trying to escape, records state.

More boys were found on the roof of another building. In all, nine teens had clambered onto the roofs of two buildings, according to police.

THP, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Jefferson City police were called in to help.

Once officers rounded up inmates and put them in their cells, "some began to flood the cells, yelling loudly and kicking doors. Officers were advised of a hole in the room where prisoners were able to gain entry to the area."

Police finally left after searching and clearing the roofs of two buildings, and staff was able through a head count to verify that everyone had been accounted for.

Also in July, the interim director of Mountain View fired an unnamed guard for using excessive force against an inmate, according to a police report.

On July 7, an unidentified inmate tried to escape by attacking a guard. He got keys and a radio, but before he could do anything more other inmates returned the items.

Later that day, surveillance video revealed, the guard could be seen approaching the young man. Names of the those involved were redacted in the report obtained by 10News.

"There appears to be a verbal exchange between the two and suddenly (redacted) grabbed (redacted) by the legs. "(Redacted) proceeded to drag (redacted) onto the floor, and a scuffle began. (Redacted) proceeds to carry (redacted) in this fashion into a side room. There appears to be an altercation, which the camera can't fully capture. But, at one point, it does appear that (redacted) head strikes the wall."

Medical staff noticed a knot on the teen's head and "light bleeding."

The teen's mother learned of the incident and and began looking into what happened.

The guard was fired July 17. It's not clear what if anything happened to him after that.

Among the units responding to Mountain View on Nov. 3 was a K-9.
A K-9 awaits orders as police search an inmate at Mountain View's B Unit the night of Nov. 3, 2019.
Jefferson City PD


In 2018, inmates tried twice to escape, and authorities called an all-hands-on-deck "code red" when a handful of inmates turned on a number of staff members. It was TrueCore's first full year overseeing the center.

On the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2018, staff moved a young man who was acting aggressively to a holding cell in the Charlie Unit. He resisted.

Other inmates saw what was happening and tried to create a distraction, records show. One forced his way into the unit, joined by another.

Both started swinging their fists at guards. More inmates joined in, some kicking employees, as the disturbance escalated. An inmate struck an employee in the mouth.

One officer had to be dragged to safety, according to records.

"As the struggle continued inside the pod, other inmates were acting up on the outside where Officer (redacted) was located," the report states. "(Redacted) was struck on the mouth by inmate (redacted) several times for no reason, as (redacted) was trying to control inmates from entering the C-1 pod."

Authorities called a "code red" that brought more security officers to the pod, and the disturbance eventually was quelled. At least two employees required medical help.

Two escape attempts also marked 2018. Mountain View features two fences, an inner and an outer fence, which has wire designed to make it tough to scale and flee.

On the night of May 24, an inmate snuck up behind a guard and forced her to the floor, putting his hands over her nose and mouth. He choked her, and she blacked out, according to records.

Surveillance video showed him sneaking up behind her and leaning over her during the attack "as she was struggling for her life," records state. It's unclear who if anyone was monitoring the video as it happened.

The inmate then took her radio and keys and began unlocking cell doors. His escape plan was foiled when he saw that her keys wouldn't unlock a back door.

Authorities learned afterword the inmate had been planning an escape about week. He'd made a dummy out of clothes in his bed, to make it appear as if he was asleep while he actually was in hiding, according to the report.

Police booked him into the county jail to be prosecuted.

Another escape attempt occurred about 1:15 a.m. Aug. 31, 2018.

A teen pried open a fire escape door with a broom and ran outside.

A county K-9 officer found the youth in the dark, next to a baseball field in a Mountain View courtyard.

A guard said he'd gone to use the restroom and when he came back he saw that the teen had gotten out. The teen told police the guard "fell asleep and this is when he took (redacted) flashlight and left through the Fire Exit."

In August 2018, a teacher reported being fondled by two inmates during what was her first week on the job. According to a report, they approached her, groped her and asked for pictures of her. One inmate rubbed her leg with his foot and slid it up into her skirt.

Five days later, however, she told police she'd decided against pursuing prosecution.

On July 14, a female guard tried to intervene between two inmates who were fighting. The teens tried to avoid hitting her, but one punch glanced off her head.

She staggered to another room where she collapsed and hit her head, either on a metal table or the floor.

Police respond Nov. 6, 2019, after a disturbance at Mountain View.
Police respond Nov. 6, 2019, after a disturbance at Mountain View.
Jefferson City Police Department

"Due to (security) camera angle and camera malfunction it was undetermined what if anything was hit when she fell," a report states.

Several other assaults were reported that year, according to records.

In August 2018, a state Department of Children's Services worker advised Dandridge police that an inmate may have been having sex with a female guard. The inmate apparently had told the Mountain View nursing staff he'd had oral and vaginal sex with a female guard, a report states.

It allegedly happened in a "seclusion room" without cameras.

The employee, whose name was redacted, ended up being fired "for bringing in contraband to the facility." The inmate didn't want to talk to police about the alleged relationship.

"(Redacted) felt obligated to report the situation to law enforcement, since (Mountain View) neglected to do so," the report by Dandridge Patrolman Mike Hansel states.


Police made only three trips to Mountain View in 2017 to respond to reports of problems, records indicate.

An employee reported Dec. 20 being hit on the chin and threatened with a trash can by an inmate.

The prior month, a guard got into a scuffle with an unruly inmate. While on the ground struggling with the teen, the guard suffered a leg injury for which he was treated at Jefferson Memorial Hospital.

In October 2017, Dandridge authorities were summoned after a boy began punching and hitting his head against the walls of a room while in seclusion.


Records show there were at least 16 reports of assaults on employees, and one allegation that a female guard had performed oral sex on a male incident.

A female staff member went to the hospital with a reported concussion in October 2016 after a young male hit her. Another woman was pushed to the floor in August and called a "f---ing bitch," a report shows. On May 5, an inmate struck a female officer in the face with a basketball.

On May 23, a correctional officer tried to intervene when a fight broke out among the students. Another young male then punched the officer in the face, blacking him out "for a few moments."

On Jan. 2, 2016, a correctional officer suffered a bloody nose and injured shoulder in an attack by an inmate.

Jennifer Nichols
Jennifer Nichols, DCS commissioner
State of Tennessee Photographic Services

While teaching Sept. 1, 2016, a staff member reported an inmate began cursing and insulting him, and then hit him below his left eye.

Several incidents occurred March 2, 2016. While a female employee was trying to deal with boys who were outside of where they were supposed to be, she reported being spat on.

That same day, a corrections officer told police two inmates attacked him, one while wearing handcuffs. He struck the officer over his left eye, records state. At one point, the officer lost consciousness and was helped to get medical aid by another inmate.

Also that day, a youth service officer told police he was escorting an inmate in Charlie Unit when he was "rushed by several inmates." He ended up in a fetal position on the floor. He suffered a broken ring finger and a black left eye.

The following day also proved violent in Charlie Unit.

While trying to monitor a student on suicide watch, an inmate began throwing feces everywhere. Then an inmate set fire to a pair of boxers and threw them at an officer.

The officer put the fire out without further incident.