by Sharon Rondeau
PSLS is one of several courses offered by the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). As a result of the reorganization of its website, the course appeared to be offered only at the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) but has now reappeared on a page which describes various classes available to substance abusers and parole violators.
In a number of letters received since late May, Fitzpatrick described how he was threatened with emotional and physical abuse should he refuse to participate in PSLS, whose workbook asks each inmate to identify his criminal behavior and ways in which he can make positive changes before re-entering society. Fitzpatrick maintains his innocence on convictions of aggravated perjury and extortion last June after taking what he believed was sound evidence of judicial and prosecutorial corruption in the county to the McMinn County grand jury.
Fitzpatrick reported that PSLS instructor Terry Hopper backed him into a corner of an office on June 19, saying that he would “beat me into the middle of next week.”
Over the last six years, The Post & Email has reported on the corrupt syndicate which allows the entire Tennessee judiciary to railroad defendants into county jails and state prisons without constitutional due process. The judges control the grand juries by placing hand-picked foremen to lead and vote with the grand jury in certain instances, particularly when a 12th vote is needed to issue an indictment. Local defense attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, court clerks, grand jury foremen, grand jurors and trial jurors work together to see that as many of their fellow citizens are incarcerated as possible.
Over the course of the last four years, Channel 5’s Phil Williams has reported on “policing-for-profit” taking place on Tennessee interstate highways in which truckers and automobile drivers are stopped, their vehicles searched without a warrant, and any large amounts of cash they are carrying is seized. In face-to-face interviews with Williams, the Dickson County Sheriff and a District Attorney General both justified the seizures as a means by which local law enforcement can continue to fund its operations.
It appears that anyone visiting Tennessee this summer should leave their cash at home. A New Jersey man has encountered an outrageous policy among police in that state to seize large amounts of cash from out-of-state visitors without any probable cause of a crime. The practice brings a new meaning to “highway robbery.”
In its last two legislative sessions, the Tennessee legislature failed to pass a bill which would limit or eliminate civil asset forfeiture.
In Rutherford County, Spencer Schuelke was stopped in his own driveway last December by a Tennessee highway patrolman who claimed he was speeding. After Schuelke stood up for his constitutional rights in a brief submitted to the General Sessions Court in February, his appeal for due process and statement of facts were dismissed by the judge and all court costs assigned to Schuelke.
On July 1, the Rutherford County grand jury was expected to meet and indict Schuelke, but their convening was reportedly delayed until the following week. An observer commented that because of the numerous violations of law Schuelke has exposed, Rutherford County court personnel may fear imminent federal prosecution.
Fitzpatrick learned that for every inmate enrolled in the PSLS course, the facility receives up to $3,000. He reported that one inmate is enrolled in the course for the fourth time, having taken it in both Tennessee state and federal prisons.
Last month, The Post & Email wrote to NWCX warden Mike Parris about Fitzpatrick’s allegations that inmates are forced to enroll in classes strictly for the purpose of the facility’s garnering federal dollars from by U.S. taxpayers. We received no response.
The Post & Email has received an adjunct report from a colleague who interviewed a former long-term Tennessee prison inmate last week supporting Fitzpatrick’s claim that a prisoners-for-profit operation is ongoing within the prison system. The colleague reported:
Just did a phone interview with a guy who spent XXXXXX years in TDOC and now on parole.
Spoke of crimes of theft by staff at every state prison.
Stolen food, staff bringing in drugs. cell phones etc.
Claim that a back hoe and combine washed away from BCCX which suits on top of a mountain after a rain storm.
Generations of the same family as wardens at same prison. Grand father, father and now son. All wardens.
All of the current required classes using the same book but classes called different things just to get the federal dollars.
All institutions paying off inspectors and certification person to pass inspection and meet certification so they get extra money.
Female guards where are recruited from the gangs to get jobs in prison the smuggle drugs and provide prostitution services.
In his letter, Fitzpatrick describes in vivid detail how Correctional Officer Lexie Smith announced on Friday morning as the inmates took breakfast that “One of the inmates in here is putting out on radio you all (meaning the men), are workin’ to steal money from the government and he’s (the offending inmate tied to the radio shows) gettin’ packed up and shipped out here today.”
Fitzpatrick’s letter begins:
There’s a sea change.
Please accept my most sincere and deepest expressions of appreciation and gratitude to you personally. You are making a tremendous impact here at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX). I can only imagine the effect your direct influence has upon those who are in your circle of influence. You are making a difference!!
…Yesterday was a whirlwind. I was upended and tossed about in many ways. I will endeavor here to reconstruct yesterday. A good result is I’m able to write in a more relaxed environment in a more deliberate pace.
Fitzpatrick continued on page 2 (grammatical and typographical errors left intact):
Smith yelled out full throttle for the benefit of all: “TDOC can inspect cells anytime they want and anything they want. They can take anything they want.”
CO Smith and Counselor Prince tore through all the document collection, holding up to show each other their choice discoveries which were letters received from you and articles you authored. Then they held each of these writings close up to read carefully. They lighted upon the word phrase or section, stop reading to call the attention of the other to the interesting discovery.
Once finished with a particular reading they set it down or handed it off for the other woman to repeat the process.
The two witches reacted variously in their emotions. Looking up glancing out of me they exhibited clear displeasure and discomfiture, or enthused gleefully entertained.
Some of the writings were taken out of the cell to copy as other men – witnesses – informed me afterwards.
Smith and Prince were particularly drawn to scrutinize newspaper articles.
Counselor Prince (not Price) and Correctional Officer Smith rampaged through records and personal writings yesterday morning for the same reasons and in the same frenzy Coporal Spillers, correctional officers tore into the volume of material on Thursday.
Soon after CO Smith and Counselor Prince had their way with me I was ordered to pack my “stuff” for the move here: Guild #2, Cell #20.
The paperwork I have is a mess. Any organization I was able to accomplish (and of Wednesday, 24 June 2015) is completely demolished. I’ve not a clue what’s still in my possession. I don’t know yet if anything is missing. I may not be able to do so.
Therapeudic community (T-comm) and Pro Social Life Skills programs director Vivian Windsor entered my cell and I was packing to leave.
Recall: Windsor, Prince, Smith…MacBeth’s three witches.
Windsor wanted to talk to me in private.
Windsor sheepishly explained there was going to be no disciplinary board. The “Class-A” write up was being dismissed. Windsor confirmed the move and my removal from the Pro Social Life Skills program.
Windsor reluctantly conceded, given the nature and status of my appeal, I should never been enrolled into the Pro Social Life Skills program to begin. If I’m to understand her correctly (maybe better said… If I’m to believe her – which I don’t –) the NWCX screening process is now to consider a man’s particular appeal situation and status.
I reported the Hopper-Prince criminal misconduct of Friday, 19 June 2015.
No meaningful response.
I told her I was still slated for the Adult Basic Education program (ABE), the GED school, and I wanted my name removed.
Windsor’s comeback was she held no control over the schoolhouse. Windsor – as others tell me – I have to “prove” to NWCX authorities I hold a high school diploma.
…Not at all unexpected, feedback I’m receiving indicates the Adult Basic Education (ABE) (GED) school program is also federally funded.