by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 17, 2016) — On Tuesday, The Post & Email received a letter from an inmate at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX) in Tiptonville, TN, from whom we have heard twice before, describing two inmate stabbings and another of a correction officer at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary (WTSP), dubbed “West High.”

The inmate is one of a number who learned of The Post & Email’s exposure of government corruption, particularly in Tennessee, beginning with hand-picked grand jury foremen who control the outcome of “grand jury” deliberations under the watchful eye of the criminal court judge.

Grand juries are tasked by the Fifth Amendment with reviewing evidence of a crime to determine whether or not an indictment against an individual is warranted.  Over more than six years, The Post & Email has acquired a plethora of documents demonstrating that Tennessee judges routinely choose their own foremen from outside of the jury pool.  The foremen sometimes serve for decades in what has been described as a “patronage position.”

Instances of other members of the grand jury serving illegally have also been identified.

Members of the legislature have failed to take action on the corruption within the courts, which condemn an unknown number of Tennesseans to jail and prison sentences every year without due process, as was done by “the People’s Court” of the Nazi era.

Condemnation without due process is known as “attainder.”

Through judicial corruption, Tennessee’s government promotes a culture of punishment without adequate evidence of a crime having been committed; multiple sentences for the same alleged crimes; the denial of the constitutional right to a defense; collusion among judges, prosecutors and “defense” attorneys; and cruel and unusual punishment once the defendant is ensconced within prison walls.

A number of prisoners have been noted to have died under mysterious circumstances or from a lack of treatment for known medical conditions.  Others have reported being battered by correction officers.

Correction officers have reported dangerous working conditions resulting from a staffing shortage attributed to a change in the way overtime pay is accrued effected by Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) Commissioner Derrick Schofield.

Schofield’s spokeswoman, Neysa Taylor, has been unresponsive to The Post & Email’s recent communication reporting a serious health hazard within an NWCX guild posed by the presence of a very ill inmate.  A request for an investigation into an inmate’s report of forced participation in the Pro-Social Life Skills (PSLS) course, paid for by federal taxpayers, also received no response.

The Post & Email has communicated with NWCX Warden Mike Parris, Gov. Bill Haslam, and Commissioner Schofield but received no response.

The inmate’s reference to the NWCX “main compound” is to Site 1, which is labeled “medium security” but by all accounts, should be “maximum security” because of the highly-dangerous conditions caused by gang members who are reportedly allowed to dictate to the correction officers.

The first page of the inmate’s letter, dated February 9, 2016, stated, “…they had two stabbings in the main compound this past weekend so they got put on lock down which probably wont [sic] be for long (it never does).

“And an officer got stabbed at west high [sic] sometime last week or so.

“I wonder why you never hear anything on the news about what goes on in places like this?

“This place is so corrupt.”

Last July, The Tennessean reported “multiple stabbings” at WTSP, but there appears to be nothing currently “in the news” as to the latest incidents of prison violence.

NWCX inmate Jerome Johnson, who was moved to Site 1 just before Christmas for no documented reason, continues to fight against what he describes as “institutional corruption,” retaliation and civil rights violations which may be racially-motivated.

Some inmates, particularly those at Site 1, fear for their lives on a daily basis.

The inmate who wrote us on February 9 believes that NWCX is profiting from cable television bills paid by inmates, currently set at $2.00 monthly for each inmate.

NWCX prisoner Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, who attempted on numerous occasions to gain an audience with the McMinn County “grand jury” to present evidence of local government corruption, has detailed a “prisoners-for-profit” scheme within the facility using inmates placed in classes which they have already completed, are not capable of completing, or which they perceive to violate their rights.

Fitzpatrick has said that Parris has made a significant effort to prevent news of prison violence from reaching the press and the public, as in the case of the July 24, 2015 Site 1 gang uprising which resulted in at least eight hospitalizations, including airlifts of injured inmates first classified as stemming from “illness.”

Fitzpatrick, Johnson and others have written of their forced placement in the PSLS class along with the inmate whose letter we forwarded to Taylor without response.

At one point, a mainstream media outlet in Nashville indicated a high level of interest in grand jury corruption and forced participation in classes; however, to our knowledge, it never generated any reports on either topic.

In the closing lines of his letter, the inmate wrote of the circumstances which landed him in prison:

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