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by Sharon Rondeau

Morgan County Correctional Complex, front entrance

(Nov. 30, 2017) — Three grievance forms from TDOC inmate Grenda Ray Harmer, #88710, dated November 20, 2017 report that his cell temperature is very cold, that an inmate is being over-medicated to the point of “abuse,” and that inmates released to return home at 8:00 a.m. are detained until 12:01 p.m. so that the facility can allegedly “be funded for the day.”

Harmer currently resides at the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX), where he has reported confiscation of his property, the relocation of a gang member who had threatened him to a nearby cell in violation of TDOC policy, smaller food portions for inmates in protective custody than in the general population, and substandard cell conditions.

In his grievance regarding cell temperature, Harmer wrote, “I’m not going to tolerate this type of treatment… Freezing us is not a part of my punishment.”

Having been in prison since 1998 after receiving convictions on serious crimes, Harmer has attempted to expose corruption and malfeasance within the TDOC, regardless of the facility in which he is currently housed.

Over the last eight years, The Post & Email has demonstrated that Tennessee’s distortion of the county grand jury system violates both state law and two U.S. Supreme Court rulings which mandate that there can be no bias in the selection of the grand jury foreman.

Instead, Tennessee criminal court judges hand-pick the grand jury foreman from the community at large without utilizing the vetting process approved by the legislature through which all other potential grand jurors and trial jurors must pass.  The foreman then serves for as long as the judge wishes, sometimes for decades.

Many of Harmer’s accounts of substandard medical care at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) appear to have been corroborated by WSMV-Channel 4 in a four-part series aired in June as well as in subsequent reportage.

After Harmer was relocated to the South Central Correctional Facility (SCCF) in April, he informed The Post & Email that it was even “worse” than the Trousdale institution. Both are operated by CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

In contrast, MCCX is a state-run facility intended to absorb the inmates from the Brushy Mountain state prison, which closed in 2009.

Earlier this year, Harmer corroborated the reports of Jerome L Johnson and Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, both of whom described having been forced to take prison classes for which they were ineligible with the apparent purpose of financial benefit to the prison in the form of federal dollars for each inmate enrolled.

Although TDOC spokeswoman Neysa Taylor told Chattanooga radio show host David Tulis that Harmer’s account of the gang member having been moved into his immediate vicinity was “fictitious,” Harmer reported that the inmate in question was moved away on November 3, after both Tulis and this publication discussed it and other deficiencies within the system.

Article 32 of Tennessee’s constitution states that “the erection of safe prisons, the inspection of prisons, and the humane treatment of prisoners, shall be provided for.”

Additionally, a state law mandates that each prison warden is “charged with the duty of treating the inmates with humanity and kindness.”


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