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BLACK MOLD, RAMPANT ILLNESS AND LACK OF MEDICAL ATTENTION ARE STILL THE NORM
by M. J. Blanchard
(Feb. 28, 2011) — The following letter was sent to Ms. Peggy Sawyer, Media Contact for the Tennessee Corrections Institute, and other Tennessee officials noted below.
February 28, 2011
Tennessee Corrections Institute
Rachel Jackson Building, Sixth Floor
320 Sixth Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0465
I am writing to you due to your familiarity with the situation in Monroe County from having worked with the Post & Email.
We recently had a house guest who had spent 51 days in the Monroe County jail. I met him the day after he made bail and found him to be quite ill. At that time he had severe dysentery and an upper respiratory infection. We picked him up three days later and brought him to our home. His condition had deteriorated. During the five days we had him we were able to control the dysentery but the respiratory infection developed into influenza.
My concern is that several past inmates have reported black mold in the HVAC ducting. This would indicate that there is either no filtration system or that it is broken. Black mold is a known cause of respiratory infections. The debilitation caused by the respiratory infection apparently led to the development of influenza. However the strain of influenza was highly contagious and apparently something that had mutated in the jail. I get the flu occasionally but have never had anything like this strain of flu in my life. There are no old people in the Monroe County jail, I assume, but if so, this strain of influenza would surely kill them.
Your immediate attention to this problem would be appreciated. Inmates do not deserve this kind of punishment, regardless of what they were charged with. This type of punishment is unconstitutional according to the U. S. Constitution.
Please note that in the past, I and others, have been referred to the Sheriff for a redress of grievances. This particular individual was beaten with a Kel light, had his car damaged, lost his rental and placed on $56,000 bail as retaliation for complaining about the Sheriff. Folks in Monroe County do not complain to or about the Sheriff, if they know what’s good for them.
M. J. Blanchard
Editor’s Note: Neither Tennessee’s governor nor the attorney general answered our letter regarding widespread corruption in Monroe County and throughout the state. Since sending the letter, we have left a voice mail and email for Gov. Haslam’s assistant, Mr. David Smith, who has ignored our requests for a response. Likewise, Ms. Sawyer did not return two telephone calls made by The Post & Email on behalf of inmates at the Monroe County jail since our initial report on the conditions there. Other firsthand reports have described the same, if not worse, conditions.
On February 28, 2011, The Post & Email contacted the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons regarding the conditions at the Monroe County jail and the fact that the state agency appears to be ineffectual in correcting the deficiencies which persist within the facility.