Tennessee: Harmer Reports “Statewide Lockdown”

AMID RE-ACCREDITATION OF THREE FACILITIES BY NATIONAL CORRECTIONAL ORGANIZATION

by Sharon Rondeau

(Jan. 22, 2019) — In two letters received last week and on Tuesday, respectively, MCCX inmate Grenda Ray Harmer, #88710, reported that on January 8, a gang member was stabbed dozens of times and all Tennessee prisons subsequently placed in “lockdown” mode, meaning that inmate movement is restricted and normally-scheduled activities curtailed.

In the initial letter, dated January 9, 2019, Harmer was unsure if the inmate survived the attack, whereas his second letter indicated he was told that there were “only 2 visible stab wounds” on the inmate’s person despite the number of apparent attempts by the perpetrator.

The inmate is reportedly a member of a “faction” of the Vice Lords street gang, and the attack emanated from gang activity outside the facility, Harmer wrote.

After receiving Harmer’s January 9 letter, we contacted Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) spokeswoman Neysa Taylor by email to ask if she could “confirm” or “refute” that an inmate had been stabbed on January 8.  We received no response.

Over the last four years, dozens of Tennessee inmates have written to The Post & Email to describe rampant gang activity, particularly at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville.  Harmer has described active gang members at MCCX for the past 18 months given that his relegation to protective custody (PC) on August 1, 2017 was instigated by a gang member who entered his cell with a knife after a correction officer left his post without a replacement.

Harmer additionally reported that newly-inaugurated Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has retained TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker, who replaced Derrick Schofield in June 2016.  Harmer’s report is confirmed in Parker’s updated online biography.

On page 2 of Harmer’s more recent letter, he wrote that the lockdown was described by corrections staff as “indefinite.” Harmer additionally criticized Parker for being “merely reactive” rather than “proactive” concerning prison gang activity.

 

 

 

Despite a myriad of safety, food, procedural, violence and other complaints reported by Harmer and others, the American Correctional Association reportedly recertified MCCX earlier this month, with “a high score of 100% on the mandatory standards and 99.8% on the non-mandatory standards.”

Warden Mike Parris, mentioned in Harmer’s initial letter, was quoted as having commented on the re-accreditation, “Day in and day out the officers and staff of MCCX give their best. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Two other Tennessee prisons also received re-accreditation, the TDOC reported the same day.

Parker is currently “President-Elect” of the ACA.  His postgraduate Master’s thesis, completed in 2013, is titled “ESTABLISHING A DERADICALIZATION/DISENGAGEMENT MODEL FOR AMERICA’S CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES:  RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COUNTERING PRISON RADICALIZATION.”

 

One Response to "Tennessee: Harmer Reports “Statewide Lockdown”"

  1. marlene   Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 10:23 AM

    Cases like this support my contention that the bureaucraps who run and accreditate the US prison system are worse than the criminals inside the prisons! US prisons are at the top of the list for the worst prisons in the entire world. My research has left me appalled at the conditions, the treatment, the corruption of the guards, the garbage they eat as “food,” the crowded cells, and the lack of decent dental and medical care. They may be prisoners, but when you lock them in cells, you’re responsible for their treatment and anything short of humane ins a pox on America!

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