by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 30, 2018) — A letter received Friday amplifies alleged gross misconduct on the part of a female correction officer reported multiple times since April by inmates at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX).

Julie Abbott, whose salary is paid by Tennessee taxpayers, is reported to have arranged for the assault of inmates against whom she developed a grudge and to reward others with contraband expressly forbidden by TDOC policy and Tennessee law, according to the TDOC’s website.

In an article published Friday, this publication invited Ms. Abbott to contact us directly to relay her side of the story, as the TDOC has not provided meaningful responses to us in the past and TDOC employees cannot be reached directly by the media.

Friday’s article included an inmate’s formal complaint sent to TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

The new correspondence claims that Abbott employs a “method of harass and attack” based on unsubstantiated rumors. “So, if Inmate A dislikes Inmate B, then the way to attack Inmate B is to tell Abbott that Inmate B said … about her. The more derogatory Inmate A makes the allegation, the more vicious and sustained Officer’s Abbott’s harassment and attack will be upon Inmate B. Inmate B claiming that he did not say these things is of no consequence to her and will fall upon deaf ears,” the latest letter states. [sic]

The author goes on to say that “Not only is this unprofessional & unethical, is very very dangerous, harmful, and unjust. To have an officer with the degree of unchecked power behaving like a jr. high school bully is a major train wreck waiting to happen…”

In the past, TDOC spokeswoman Neysa Taylor has denied that such problems exist within the state’s penal system rather than investigating accusations.  For its part, the TBI has declined to investigate judges and district attorneys general after receiving credible reports of criminal conduct, claiming that it must obtain a referral from the district attorney general to do so.

Each inmate from whom we have heard on this subject has requested strict anonymity out of fear of retaliation, including beatings.

The TDOC’s mission is “To operate safe and secure prisons and provide effective community supervision in order to enhance public safety.”  Its “vision” is expressed as “To be recognized as the best correctional agency in the nation.”

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