Claims Appeal Acknowledged for Tennessee Mother Whose Keys were Lost by Prison Guards

COSTING HER MORE THAN $1,300

by Sharon Rondeau

(Apr. 10, 2018) — On Monday, single mother and Tennessee citizen Jamonica Taylor received a letter of acknowledgement from the Tennessee Claims Commission, to which she had appealed a denial of reimbursement for expenses she incurred while visiting an inmate on Thanksgiving Day last year.

In December, Jamonica Taylor told The Post & Email that her holiday visit to the Turney Center Industrial Complex (TCIX) in Only, TN began uneventfully, as it had the previous two Thanksgivings.  However, Ms. Taylor noted that the correction officer at the receiving area made the unusual request that she leave her key ring with him rather than retaining her keys throughout the visit.

Ms. Taylor said she complied with the officer’s request and visited with the inmate for approximately four hours in the designated area along with her two children, ages 10 and 6, who had accompanied her on the two-hour trip.

When at 1:30 p.m., Taylor attempted to leave by exiting the visiting area and requesting the return of her key ring, she was told by the officer that they were misplaced.  She further reported that Associate Warden of Security Jason Clendenion was rude and unhelpful to her in what escalated into a highly stressful situation for her and the children on a holiday two hours from home.

Taylor provided receipts showing that she incurred more than $1,300 in expenses to pay a locksmith to come to the prison parking lot and open her car door not once, but twice; have her car towed to her home and then to the Toyota dealer; and to have a new key made by the dealer.

Directly after her keys were lost, Taylor contacted TCIX Warden Kevin Genovese, who provided a form by which she could apply to the State of Tennessee Treasury Department’s Division of Claims Administration for reimbursement. Appearing to be contrite over the incident, Genovese strongly suggested that Taylor would be compensated for her financial loss resulting from the actions of his staff.

Taylor told The Post & Email that the expenses she was forced to incur were funded by the money she had saved for her children’s Christmas that year. She took out a personal loan to buy gifts for the children so that they would not go without their customary Christmas celebration, she added.

A state employee herself, Taylor said she was appalled at the way she was treated by the prison guard who demanded that she leave her keys in his custody and then lost them as well as by Clendenion.

On December 29, 2017, Taylor filed a claim with the Division of Claims Administration, including her receipts and the completed form provided by Genovese.  On March 23, 2018, Taylor supplied documentation form the division showing that her claim had been denied on the premise that her loss was not “caused by the negligence of state officials.”

She was informed at that time that she could file an appeal to the Claims Commission, which she did.  On Monday, she received an acknowledgement of her appeal dated April 5, 2018 from the office of the Claims Division for Middle Tennessee stating that her claim is presently “under consideration.”

 

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