Harmer Again Notifies Health Department of Alleged Violations


by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 12, 2018) — A copy of a letter received Saturday dated August 6, 2018 addressed to Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner reinforces a July 28, 2018 letter from the same individual alleging continued violations of American Correctional Association (ACA) food-service policies in Unit #1 of the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX).

In his most recent letter to Dreyzehner, inmate Grenda Ray Harmer, #88710, wrote that in a May 8, 2018 complaint to the ACA, he “listed 7 ACA food violations by MCCX prison officials.”

Harmer’s subsequent memo to Dreyzehner, dated June 6, 2018, begins with “MCCX is violating health Department food regulations in two areas.”

In January, Harmer reported an improvement in the food-service conditions to which he had first called attention last year.

On August 6, Harmer reported to Dreyzehner that “July 16, 2018 health inspector Tylah Whisman from Clinton, TN came to my cell in Unit #1 to inspect for any health regulations violations of TDOH. Ms. Whisman, who had a copy of my May 8, 18 letter, talked with me.”

Harmer then listed two health code regulations which he reportedly cited to Whisman, along with “all other claims in my May 8, 18 letter, which we discussed. Ms. Whisman basically agreed with me.”

He then wrote that the following day, “MCCX prison officials ceased food preparation in Unit #1 as a result of health inspector Tylah Whisman’s inspection.” However, Harmer told Dreyzehner that on July 18, “MCCX Warden Mike Parris and Chief of Security Captain Steven Jones ordered Aramark to ignore TDOH health regulations and to recommence preparing food trays under the same conditions that Ms. Whisman agreed violated TDOH regulations…”

“Aramark” is the prison’s contracted food-service provider.

Harmer’s letter continues, “On a daily basis I watch food servers prepare trays in dirty clothes without aprons or hairnets while non-food persons carry out trash and clean floors then pass out food and drink to help food servers. Corporal Wagner, security personnel, authorizes this cross-contamination. Corporal Wagner thinks it is funny.”

Harmer has been critical of Wagner in the recent past, accusing him of allowing gang members to offer bribes and assault vulnerable inmates without repercussions.

“If you believe I’m lying get them [Parris and Jones] to allow you to review security footage. The cameras don’t lie,” Harmer added on page 2.

He then proposed two hypothetical solutions to the problem, which he said if left unsolved, in his view should result in the health department imposing a fine on the prison and “necessary legal action to enforce compliance with TDOH regulations.”

The letter is copied to David Tulis, “Nooganomics” radio host and editor; four state representatives, Gov. Bill Haslam, the ACA, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Commissioner Tony Parker, and Parris.

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