by Sharon Rondeau

(Apr. 7, 2018) — In a March 31, 2018 memorandum, Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) inmate Grenda Ray Harmer, #88710, wrote to Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Commissioner Tony Parker to say that he continues to be a victim of “harassment” on the part of third-shift employees.

Harmer told Parker that two correction officers have been awakening him after the lights have gone out for the night in alleged violation of TDOC administrative policy #506.11.

The Post & Email was unable to find the exact policy online or in the TDOC “Inmate Rules and Regulations” handbook, which is not online but a copy of which was sent to us.  Administrative policies are renumbered from time to time as they are updated.

Over the last 18 months, Harmer has reported negligence on the part of correction officers, including a lack of supervision of a gang member who accosted him last July, resulting in his being placed in protective custody (PC).

Harmer remains in PC but claims his situation has not been reviewed as is required by TDOC policy 404.09.

Many of his accounts of prison life have been corroborated by other inmates and their relatives, specifically as to the discontinuation of prescription medications, uncontrolled gang activity at a number of TDOC facilities, and “ghost” jobs wherein an inmate is noted administratively to hold and receive pay for a prison job but does not actually work.

Harmer’s and others’ reports of inadequate staffing at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville were corroborated by the Comptroller of the Treasury in an audit published in November as well as by Prison Legal News.

A 2003 PLN article demonstrates that short-staffing is not new to Tennessee’s prisons, particularly in regard to those which are privately-run by CoreCivic, formerly CCA.

Dangerous conditions in Tennessee’s state prisons have also been well-documented for more than a decade but are routinely denied by the agency.

Harmer claimed that newly-installed Warden Mike Parris, who changed places with former MCCX Warden Shawn Phillips, now at NWCX, is “allowing Lt. Byrd and C/O Holbrook to harass me.”  Harmer further speculated that “It may also be MCCX, in addition to harassing me, they are not familiar with policy that I also believe is 100% correct.”

In his second-to-last paragraph, Harmer offered, for the sum of “$300 a week,” to “train MCCX staff/prison officials about policy.”  His reference to “Neysa Taylor” is to the TDOC’s director of communications, who in the past has called Harmer’s letters and memos “fictitious.”

In addition to filing numerous grievances and reports as to alleged deficiencies in the prison system and within his immediate surroundings, Harmer has also reflected positive changes he said he observed in response to those grievances.


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