Tennessee: Harmer Reports Improvements in Protective Custody


by Sharon Rondeau

Photo by AlexVan at Pixabay, used under CCO

(Jul. 7, 2018) — A letter received Thursday from MCCX inmate Grenda Ray Harmer states that conditions in the protective custody (PC) unit, where he has been housed for nearly a year, have recently improved.

Harmer attributed the changes to The Post & Email’s reportage based on his and others’ letters sent over the last several months.

His most recent letter states that “every 30 days the P.C. board now comes around; P.C. inmates get rec 7 days per week; P.C. inmates get pod activities 7 days per week; P.C. inmates now serve their own food that created 5 jobs.”

Harmer had previously filed numerous grievances over was what he said was severe confinement in PC, resulting in no recreation periods or pod activities on the weekends, unlike in the general population.  To our knowledge, none of the grievances received a formal response from MCCX Warden Mike Parris, TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker, or Gov. Bill Haslam.

According to TDOC Administrative Policies and Procedures, Section 404.09, inmates in protective custody are to have their placements reviewed regularly, beginning with every seven days, in consideration of relocation to less restrictive environments. Since arriving in the unit last August, Harmer reported that he did not receive a review until May; that “review” reportedly took place outside of his cell while he was inside, with the correction officers’ comments reportedly audible by other unit inmates.

On June 29, we received a very different letter from Harmer reporting that he was the object of a “shakedown” wherein guards allegedly falsely claimed he was in possession of a weapon.  Harmer later described the incident as a “setup.”

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