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COMPLAINT REFERRED TO THE TENNESSEE CORRECTIONS INSTITUTE
December 29, 2011
The following email was sent to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s office:
To the Gov on Dec. 17, 2011
Subject—Will retired Naval Commander die on your watch?
Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III is being held in a cold solitary confinement cell in the Monroe County, Tennessee jail. Why would the governor allow prison conditions unfit for a human being? If the retired Commander – a graduate of the Naval Academy – dies in prison, the country will see Tennessee as a wild frontier from the OLD WEST. It seems the sheriff in Monroe County has decided prisoners are worthless and should be treated as such in his jail. PLEASE TAKE NOTE THE COUNTRY IS BECOMING AWARE OF PRISON ABUSES IN MONROE COUNTY.
If you as Governor do nothing, you are part of the problem. Are we becoming a banana republic? Hope not. PLEASE TAKE action before this retired commander dies from exposure in a cold cell.
and I received the following response:
From: Jean Ligon <Jean.Ligon@tn.gov>
Subject: Monroe County Jail Complaint from Gov. Haslam’s Office
Cc: “Miller Meadows” <Miller.Meadows@tn.gov>, “Lance Howell” <Lance.Howell@tn.gov>
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 1:51 PM
We are in receipt of your correspondence and taking the appropriate action to notify the TCI inspector assigned to the referenced correctional facility. The inspector will respond according to our TCI policies and follow the proper procedures and paperwork concerning public interest inquiries, concerns or inmate complaints.
Thank you for working with our agency to accomplish our mission to work with Tennessee jails to develop a professional corrections environment for today and tomorrow.
TCI Director Beth Ashe
Editor’s Note: The Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI) has established minimum standards for jails and prisons throughout the state. Ms. Ashe can be reached at 615-741-3816. We have been told that the Monroe County jail was last inspected on June 7, 2011 and was cited for overcrowding. The inspector, Barry Suttles, told The Post & Email that the facility was nevertheless recertified.