Report: Mentally-Ill Inmate Handcuffed So Tightly During Transport His Hands Swell Up


by Sharon Rondeau

(Apr. 15, 2018) — As was expected late last week, TDOC inmate Michael Wayne Haycraft, #277811, was relocated from the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) to the Turney Center Industrial Complex (TCIX) on Friday evening.

According to his wife, Beth Haycraft, Mr. Haycraft suffers from three specific mental illnesses which affect his ability to make sound judgments in certain situations.  She has reported that he has received no therapy since his latest incarceration, which began in 2014.  As of October 5, 2018, Mr. Haycraft has been in MCCX’s protective custody (PC) section due to threats from gang members.  Mrs. Haycraft said that the seclusion of PC was a significant stressor for her husband and that he was intermittently on the verge of “crisis” while there.

On Friday evening, Mrs. Haycraft related the substance of a telephone call she received from her husband at approximately 7:00 PM that day in which he told her, as she described it, that “handcuffs had been placed on him so tightly that even at the time of his call his hands were so swollen he couldn’t touch his middle finger with his thumb” while transported from one facility to another.

A former correction officer herself, Mrs. Haycraft called the treatment “uncalled for.”  “When I was at the academy we were trained to place handcuffs so that a finger could fit inside them to prevent nerve damage. One could assume that the handcuffs were purposefully intended to produce needless pain and possible subsequent damage to the wrists/hands,” she told The Post & Email.

On April 10, Mr. Haycraft attended a Parole Board hearing which denied him release from prison because of a “Class A” disciplinary write-up from last October which his wife and others say was undeserved, issued under false pretenses, and incorrectly stated the date of the alleged incident.

Haycraft was reportedly denied an inmate adviser to address the charge of failing to participate in the Therapeutic Community (TCom) class, which violates the TDOC’s own disciplinary policy.

Mrs. Haycraft has concerns as to her husband’s new placement at TCIX, which is located in Middle Tennessee, as he has has reportedly been attacked by gang members in prisons in Middle and West Tennessee.  TCIX is also 6½ hours from where Mrs. Haycraft lives in Virginia. Both had hoped that if he were denied parole, he could be transferred to the Northeast Correctional Complex (NECX) in East Tennessee, where he has been housed before, or the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex (BCCX) in Pikeville, either of which would have been considerably closer to home.

Mrs. Haycraft said that her husband told the Parole Board that Middle and West Tennessee prisons present a considerable safety risk to him. “Since the beginning of his incarceration, Michael has told facilities that he cannot be sent to Middle or West Tennessee due to past a past gang assault where he was stabbed, Mrs. Haycraft wrote on Friday night.  “He told this to officials at MCCX and to the parole hearings official on April 10, 2018, during his parole hearing.  Sending Michael to an area where may encounter gang activity could result in harm to him.  Since officials were told repeatedly about Michael’s fear for his safety due to gang activities, what is to be concluded about why MCCX sent him to the very area he requested to not be sent?  If my husband is hurt because of the actions of MCCX officials, there are several charges that could be filed against them such as deliberate indifference, reckless endangerment and color of law abuse.”

She added that “Information was relayed to Michael that any infraction during the TCom program would result in transfer to South Central, which is the location where he was stabbed.”

Shortly before noon on Saturday, Mrs. Haycraft wrote:

I just finished a call with Michael and gained to following information:

Prior to being transferred to TCIX, Officer XXXXXX and trustee XXXXX revealed where Michael would be shipped; this is a huge security breach and one that could have alerted gang members at different facilities.  It is unknown as to whether or not this breach was due to poor judgement or out of malice.  Michael had told inmates other than XXXXX and his cell mate that he was being transferred to Trousdale in an attempt to prevent gang members from knowing his location.

I relayed information to you last night about Michael being handcuffed in a reckless and excessive manner that caused pain and swelling in his wrists.  He was cuffed at MCCX; the trip to Special Needs in Nashville where they changed buses lasted from approximately 8 am to 12 noon.  The trip from Special Needs to TCIX lasted 45 more minutes.  Michael still has swelling in his hands this morning, but did report it has gone down some.  He did report pain in his hands due to improper handcuffing.

Bledsoe facility has TCom, but for some reason it was told to Michael that Bledsoe was not an option.  He surmised this could be due to the proximity of Bledsoe to Morgan Co. and potential risk of gang activity.  However, Michael’s current location is only an hour away from where he was assaulted by gang members at South Central.  Michael was sliced along his ribs, but reported he did not receive stitches; he was left in a cell by himself until he healed.  He stated that officers took pictures of the injuries which included a boot imprint on his back and that the information was entered into the computer system.  However, he stated that after a certain amount of time such records are purged; how can this be?

This is further evidence of how the corrections industry in the state of Tennessee is incompetent, vindictive, retaliatory, reckless and dangerous.  Until outside sources hold these facilities and those in positions of authority accountable, these crimes will continue.  I am hoping that as more people become informed about the realities of incarceration they too, will become outraged and demand change.


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