Neysa Taylor is the spokeswoman for the Tennessee department of correction with whom I have dealt regarding reporting done from inside the system by a meticulous correspondent, Grenda Ray Harmer. Today I send her the following query, with an expression of alarm about what appears to be maltreatment and intimidation of a whistleblower. Mr. Harmer alleges the for-profit combine CoreCivic is running a phony jobs program for which it gains complicity of inmates by putting a few dollars in the prison bank account of each pretended hire. Mrs. Taylor is good enough to give a prompt reply by email, below, making promise to check out the warden-imposed Crips alliance. — David Tulis
Reporter inquires into threat to correspondent
I have received from my correspondent Grenda Harmer an alarming letter dated Oct. 30 indicating that a gang member who had assaulted him earlier has been placed in close proximity to him.
He suggests that this placement is an effort to intimidate him to stop dealing with my CBS Radio News affiliate Noogaradio 92.7 FM 95.3 FM HD4 and other members of the press and to stop his filing complaints with the Tennessee Department of Correction over abusive conditions in the hands of your contractor, CoreCivic.
“The Crips gang member who assaulted me was put in Cell 11 across from me. What should have been done is Sgt. Garner should have put an ‘incompatible’ against this gang member so we can’t be in the same unit. It’s on camera, this inmate ran in my cell and assaulted me. These people are trying to stop me from further complaints. ***
“This just took place at 11:45 a.m. right before feeding us. Would you contact Warden Phillips and Commissioner Parker and ask why they are trying to harm me?”
He says at the bottom of the letter that he is going to talk with the corporal in charge. “If anything happens to me this will be my record of it. Thanks. Grenda.”
I request an interview with the commissioner by phone, not necessarily live on my show. But a live interview on my show would be a great venue for him to explain what has happened in the Grenda Harmer case and would let him gave indication of the care he intends to give to every inmate in the system over which he has authority.
Please respond to this inquiry, and further to Mr. Parker my expression of concern over Mr. Harmer, my correspondent.
‘Erroneous and outright fictitious information’
Mrs. Taylor’s quick response rejects my bid for an interview of Commissioner Parker, and dismisses Mr. Harmer’s report: “Unfortunately, Mr. Harmer is a frequent writer to a multitude of individuals and chooses to use his time writing letters full of erroneous and outright fictitious information. We will not validate or give credence to Mr. Harmer’s claims by having Commissioner Parker grant an interview.
“I will look into Mr. Harmer’s latest claims and provide you a statement via email.”