Tennessee Inmate Again the Victim of “Hands-On” Training


by Sharon Rondeau

(Jan. 10, 2017) — In a letter received on Monday, TDOC inmate Richard A. Mayers, who previously reported having witnessed “hands-on” training on the part of correction officers against other inmates, has now reported experiencing it once again himself.

When Mayers first contacted The Post & Email in July, he described two beatings at the hands of correction officers while residing at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary (WTSP), one of which reportedly shattered his left eardrum.

Mayers was moved to the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) after his story was published at The Post & Email.  He has reported both favorably and unfavorably on his new surroundings, although his most recent letter indicates a turn for the worse.

“My glasses are busted and I have now personally undergone some hands on training by a 145 pound 23 year old kid…” he wrote on page 1. “Apparantly I should have kept my opinions the myself [sic]… do you think it’s a mistake that I received my hands on training the very morning that my watchdog articles went in the mailbox to you I dont think its by chance,” he wrote. [sic]

Tennessee prison wardens are required by law to see that the inmates are treated with “humanity and kindness.”

Mayers is wheelchair-bound most of the time but reported that his wheelchair “has been taken.”  “I don’t even have a walker or a cane,” he wrote of his present circumstances.

As did Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III when he was a Tennessee state prisoner, Mayers reported that the TDOC “receives government funding for certain activities and programs such as Pro social,” meaning the “Pro-Social Life Skills” course.

He described the class as an “absolute joke.” Fitzpatrick, who had spent time at both the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX) and WTSP, had reported that many inmates were placed in PSLS inappropriately or had already completed the class.

“They receive $6000 from the government for every person ran through the mill and that’s exactly what they do,” he said.

He also conveyed that the section of the prison where he resides has been redesignated as a “Security Management Unit,” or SMU. “T.D.O.C. receives more money for high leval inmates thats why tha manipulate our security levals,” Myers said. “Dont you think the Justice dept. would be interested in how there funding is getting manipulated and wasted.”

The Post & Email has written to Michael Alston, Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Justice, on several occasions and submitted information on the harshness of Tennessee prison conditions directly to the Department of Justice through its website portal. Neither method of communication has received a response.

We have also written to the Knoxville and Memphis offices of the FBI regarding the many inmate reports we have received describing the smuggling-in of contraband, which includes cell phones, drugs, drug paraphernalia, and other banned substances, often allegedly involving correction officers and individuals on the outside.

In a press conference last February announcing arrests emanating from its “Operation Ghost Guard,” the FBI stated that illegal activity in prisons is “a national problem.”

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