“ACTING UNDER COLOR OF BADGE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 16, 2018) — In the same mailing which reported an alleged taser attack on an inmate by a correction officer and unnecessary punitive measures allegedly taken by the new NWCX warden, Shawn Phillips, TDOC inmate Jerome L. Johnson, #150724, reported that he was sexually assaulted by a correction officer on the morning of March 28, 2018.
Johnson provided in the envelope the yellow copy of an “Inmate Grievance,” the original of which had been directed to Phillips, detailing the alleged incident with the correction officer’s name and rank, stated as “Sgt.”
Tennessee’s PREA law (Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003) states that it “prohibits and seeks to eliminate sexual assaults and sexual misconduct in correctional institutions. Sexual abuse encompasses (1) inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse, (2) inmate-on-inmate sexual harassment, (3) staff-on-inmate sexual abuse, and (4) staff-on-inmate sexual harassment.”
The law is reportedly modeled on federal policy adopted by the U.S. Justice Department and that each TDOC facility has a designated “PREA team leader” whose responsibility is to see that the state statute and federal policy are carried out.
The TDOC states that:
All employees receive training about the federal law, state law, and departmental policy governing sexual contact with offenders.
All employees receive training concerning their duty to report rumors or allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct, to whom they should report, how they should report, and when they should report such incidents.
All employees receive training about how to detect an unreported incident of sexual abuse.
Likewise, it maintains of inmates regarding PREA:
Offenders receive written notice and training on how to avoid becoming a target for sexual abuse.
Offenders receive notice in the offender handbook that sexual contact is strictly prohibited and may be punishable by disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.
Offenders receive training on what to do if they have become a victim of sexual assault, including the various reporting methods and how to preserve physical evidence.
Each facility has a free and confidential PREA TIP LINE to allow offenders to report incidents of sexual abuse without fear of reprisal.
Johnson reported that he spoke with a “Unit 14 counselor the same day and he assured me that he would give me the proper instruction on how to call and report this serious matter to [Prea *9222].”
The last PREA audit of NWCX appears to have been completed in early 2016 and reports that out of three claims of “sexual abuse” made by inmates against corrections staff, all were said to be “unsubstantiated.” Out of five “sexual harassment” claims from inmates against staff, four were deemed “unsubstantiated” and one “substantiated.”
The report stated that three levels of “screening” required in the inmate education component to PREA were “not being completed as required by the standard.”
At that time, Mike Parris was the facility’s warden. Approximately two weeks ago, Phillips and Parris changed places, where in Parris became warden of MCCX, where Phillips had been, and Phillips returned to NWCX, where he had been warden previously.
“There is not a moment I don’t think about the inappropriate behavior that took place by your Sgt. and I have no fear of [Retaliation] by the T.D.O.C. officials,” Johnson concluded his grievance.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.