by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 30, 2018) — An inmate letter received on Monday accuses Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Tony Parker of “lying to the media” in regard to his claim in an article last month that the department “will not tolerate any threat to the safety and security of our facilities.”

The article was published by The Chattanoogan on September 18, 2018, mistakenly cited by Harmer as September 19, 2018 in another similarly-named paper. In fact, The Chattanooga Times Free Press is a separate publication with the url “”

The column reported that the Morgan County grand jury issued eight indictments against a minimum-security inmate and his alleged accomplices at the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) for attempting to introduce contraband into the facility and facilitate an inmate’s escape.

The author of the letter, Grenda Ray Harmer, is housed at MCCX in protective custody (PC) due to a threat from a gang member.  He has frequently cited his jailers for lax security practices and the admission of contraband into the unit, which is expected to be more secure than other areas of the prison.  Harmer correctly cited the newspaper’s reportage as to Parker’s comments made in response to the indictments, which included prison employees.

The article’s last three paragraphs appear to be a statement from the TDOC but lack quotation marks.

In his letter to Parker, Harmer wrote, referencing Parker’s affirmation to The Chattanoogan, “My response is; you are lying! The only reason you are prosecuting those 4 inmates and 3 staff members is because the media are putting it front and center exposing MCCX corruption you allow.”

Harmer then listed three examples in bold, underlined print dating back to March of last year when Harmer was housed at a prison operated by the private company CoreCivic and was shown in prison records to be assigned to a job that “did not exist.” Harmer was compensated for the “ghost job” as shown by trust account records he provided to The Post & Email.

Harmer’s second example was from July of last year about which he wrote, “I exposed MCCX staff Sgt. Ronald Farmer, Sgt. Anthony Collins, Corporal Chad Wagner, and C/O Williams assaulted inmate Jeremy Gordan #369080.”

“C/O” stands for “Correction Officer.”

Harmer’s third, more recent example recounted “various dates I either wrote you letters or sent you copies of letters documenting Corporal Chad Wagner would leave Unit #1 front door unlocked so inmate Cletus Franklin #345581 could acquire drugs and tobacco.”  The example included two footnotes citing 1) “a ‘security protocol violated’ as you are aware” and 2) “This inmate is not even officially assigned the job but is out all day working and selling drugs and tobacco. Why?”

On page 2, Harmer excoriated Parker for allegedly having “allowed CoreCivic to engage in fraud of providing inmates jobs that do not exist and pay them for work never performed”; for “allowing” MCCX staff members to “beat inmates,” which Harmer has reported to this publication on many occasions; and for overlooking the violation of “security protocols” and “touching inmates inappropriately” allegedly on Wagner’s part.

Harmer reported the latter accusation last month.

Additional MCCX inmates and their relatives have told The Post & Email that the facility is a “hands-on” prison in which staff frequently use unnecessary force and coercion, resulting in bodily harm to inmates.


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