“CLEARLY VIOLATES SECURITY PROTOCOL”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 1, 2017) — On March 8, a Tennessee prison inmate wrote to an official at the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) to inform him that a contracted security officer’s actions within his section, or “pod,” of the prison posed a “security threat.”
A subsequent March 18, 2017 letter to Commissioner Tony Parker states that TDOC Contract Monitor Christopher Brun did not take corrective action on the reported violation involving a contract employee from G4S.
For approximately a year, TTCC owner CoreCivic has been using G4S employees to serve as correction officers at the facility as a result of high turnover in permanent staff. It is The Post & Email’s understanding that the contract between CoreCivic and G4S expired on Friday and that “lockdown” may consequently be imposed on all inmates.
A “medium-security” facility, TTCC is reportedly housing violent gang members in the same pods as minimum-security prisoners. Theft, assault, and extortion have been reported on the part of gang members against “unaffiliated” inmates.
A Facebook page contributed to by relatives of TTCC inmates indicates concern for frequent lockdowns and reported lack of medical care at CoreCivic-operated facilities in Tennessee. Over the last year, The Post & Email has published scores of articles on the same and related topics based on inmate and relatives’ communications.
The inmate’s letter to Parker said that the officer repeatedly violated CoreCivic’s “Post Orders,” which state on page 2, Section III, Subsection A.6., “Monitor inmate/resident presence in your unit and ensure that all present, are authorized. Report any unauthorized inmates/residents discovered in your unit to the Shift Supervisor/Unit Manager.”
As the six-page document is marked “Proprietary Information – Not For Distribution – Copyrighted – Property of CCA,” The Post & Email will not publish it. “CCA” is CoreCivic’s former name, having stood for “Corrections Corporation of America.”
Although TTCC and three other Tennessee prisons are owned and operated by CoreCivic, the TDOC retains oversight of daily operations, according to TDOC spokeswoman Neysa Taylor.
Taylor has termed all inmate and relatives’ reports of dangerous conditions and lack of medical care as “inaccurate.” However, the author of the letter shown below, Grenda Harmer, had written us in late February to say that his prescription Prilosec for acid reflux disease was suddenly withheld with increasingly severe symptoms as the time went on. In an article published on March 27, we reported that Harmer’s medication had been restored by Correct Care Solutions, the private company contracted to provide medical care to TTCC inmates and those at many other facilities in the country.
On March 16, The Post & Email contacted both Taylor and a spokesman for CCS, and Harmer reported that the Prilosec was resumed on March 17. He was scheduled to also again be given Tums, which he uses to supplement the Prilosec for his condition.
In his letter to Parker, Harmer wrote at the bottom of page 1, “I want to know why Mr. Brun did not investigate and correct this problem that clearly violates security protocol. G4S Officer XXXXXXX should immediately be removed from BC Pod and replaced with someone will not allow inmate/convicts into BC Pod who do not live in BC Pod. It is Mr. Brun’s duty to correct these type of situations, according to the Incarceration Agreements TDOC signed with Trousdale County.”
The blank spaces represent redactions of the officer’s name and that of an officer with the title of “Sgt.”
Almost daily, The Post & Email receives accounts of correction officer brutality, lack of mental-health services, retaliation, and uncontrolled gang activity within Tennessee’s 14 prisons, with inmates’ relatives becoming increasingly despondent about their government’s lack of response to their concerns that their loved ones will not make it out of prison alive.
The smuggling-in of contraband such as cell phones and illicit street drugs have been reported by inmates, their relatives, and by the TDOC itself.
The Post & Email has asked the FBI to investigate the TDOC and, more recently, the White House to make such an investigation a priority.