Harmer files string of complaints vs. prison contractors CoreCivic, Aramark

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I review a batch of copies of complaints filed according to state rules by Grenda Harmer in the Wartburg, Tenn., prison. (Photo David Tulis)

In this piece of correspondence I rehearse a string of complaints filed by state slave Grenda Harmer at Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, Tenn. — DJT

Dear Grenda, I am in receipt of your several complaint form copies directed to several people — Warden Hutchinson, Dr. Carter, grievance chairman M. Monkhouse and “Jane,” who was to have received mail from you that did not arrive.

The first item, March 7, tells about Aramark and its failure to supply lids on food trays. You say, “Why is it Aramark can’t keep clean lids? If they need to purchase enough to ensure they’ve got clean trays and Lids, then they need to purchase more. If it’s the inmates not doing their job, the inmate needs to be fired.” You go on to say about Cpl. Perry’s using styrofoam trays, which you indicate are inadequate, “Let me know how your complaints to Nashville about Aramark and Morgan County Correctional Complex go. Do you think Warden Phillips will have Aramark do the right thing?”

I also have a yellow copy form, a letter to Dr. Carter. You ask him about an infected mouth. How did you get this infection with all of its pain? You say it’s a solid 6. How do you sleep with pain? The date on that form is March 8. What has happened?

Grenda Ray Harmer, prisoner

On the same day you make a request to chairman Monkhouse of the grievance committee. What is the problem in having forms available? I guess you’re saying that if you don’t have a form for a grievance, you cannot file one.

2 days later, on March 10, you file a 28-line grievance letter to Warden Phillips, referring to inmate Bole, No. 515353, who had had a fight with another inmate. When I read the following description, I could not help but feel how unreal and bureaucratic and administrative prison justice, prison society, are, how it is pretendedly under control of rules, to which one might appeal for recourse or remedy, but that really social life in prison is chaos and artifice and extremely apart from the real world. After getting a note describing a dispute between “cellys,” you say, “I immediately notified second shift and had Boles, No. 515353, write out a short statement explaining the problem. Cpl. Potter immediately contacted Sgt. Cashmore (Cpl. Potter and officer Flannery both did their job). Boles told me that the officer Flannery told him that Sgt. Cashmore said it was first shift problem [and] to contact Sgt. Lamb since she made the initial move. I prepared an emergency grievance, gave it to Boles and Boles turned it in at 8 p.m. to Cpl. Potter. I seen it.”

Grenda, when I read this I feel like I’m in a daze or made half asleep by narcotic.

Styrofoam or plastic trays for meals

Grenda, you are a busy man. On the same day according to my pink copy of your document, you complain that  Cpt. Byrd says it’s OK for Aramark to use styrofoam trays.

On March 15, you have a second document regarding Aramark’s alleged violation of policy, No. 506.16(VI)(3)(d)(5). You point out that the only time a meal may be served on a styrofoam tray is when the “inmate is assaultive.” A thought occurs to me. The rules may be good for leverage, but they also suggest a heartless and mechanized society in the prison, the effect of which is drain the soul and life out of the state slave confined there if it were not or the fact that every man is a soul made in the image of God and the Holy Spirit lives and breathes even in this human hellscape of tedium and uselessness. “Two things need to be done first ensure there are plenty of lids,” you report. “First, ensure there are plenty of lids. Second, until more lids are gotten, PC inmates can be let out of the cell to pick up their tray, then go back to the cell, allowed by policy no. 404.09(VI)(H)(1). That way we don’t need lids. There’s no reason not to since we all come together for showers and recreation.”

Using admin rules bites both ways

I appreciate your using the rules against the system. But a rationalized social and public order has teeth that bite both ways. By rules we can put crooked state actors on notice. But in creating a rational, organized, statutory and regulatory society in the prison, real moral questions of right and wrong may be harder to see because of the thicket of pharisaical regulations and sticky procedures.

Also on March 15, according to my pink copy of a complaint, you ask Warden Phillips about mail. “I want to know why Cpl. Hill is interfering with my mail? If need be, I’ll have my friend call Nashville. I wrote her and told her that I didn’t get my copies she sent and I’d let her know if you help me with get my copies.”

Could you please explain to me briefly about outside help in getting materials published and sent.

Policy cited down to the 6th level

I highly recommend this book and others by Gary North.

On March 18, according to a yellow copy, you address correspondence to AWT Hutchinson. The problem of styrofoam trays continues from Aramark and you are citing TDOT policy number 5:06.1:6 (VI)(B)(3)(d)(5), (6) and (e). I quote that exactly, to amaze my outside reader.

“Policy requires hard plastic trays be used. *** “ But it seems to get worse, for you go on. “This morning we didn’t get no jelly which also violates two different policies. We are supposed to get the “same content as the general population.”

Grenda, I had to smile when I read further. “I’d prefer to talk with you personally about issues of this nature that need resolving rather than take legal action. On March 15, 2018, I mailed my first lawsuit. But I’m monitoring Aramark and other conditions to give MCCX an opportunity to correct the many problems that has been going on long before I was placed on protective custody. I’m submitting another letter outlining briefly the issues I would like to discuss.”  Grenda, when I read this I’m wondering about protective custody. Grenda, are you in solitary confinement? Why?

Another letter, March 18, prompts me to ask another question. What is the difference between a segregated unit and a protective custody unit? You’re in the latter. Is it the same as solitary confinement? In this letter you raise a question about access to the law library. And you suggest Aramark is “deliberately trying to increase profits by denying PC inmates sufficient diet, violating policy and law.” Another of your eight points in this letter is that “grievance procedures are being deliberately violated” and inclement weather and gym policies are being violated.

I’m glad that you make a general favorable admonition, “All it takes is someone to do the right thing.”

Hatred and retaliation

I’m looking now in my formerly newsprint ink-stained hands at your last copy, a letter to Jane regarding missing photo- and other copies. You mention a defendant in one of your lawsuits, Cpl. Anthony Hill whom you say is over the mailroom and “hates me.”

You say that Cpl. Hill “is the one who cancelled my Christmas package in retaliation for my filing grievance against him. Once you complain about it,” you tell Jane, “I believe Cpl. Hill will stop. Let them know you want my letter of March 14 with copies given me. I’m sending copies of this letter to  Sharon Rondeau and David Tulis, my editors.”

Grenda indeed, you are my correspondent in the state slave system, one who has consistently written me about your doings. Thank you. The Tennessee prison system is ungodly and evil, even though it is envisioned in the Tennessee constitution as a function of the state. I’m glad you are willing to keep me posted, and I don’t want you to think that if I don’t respond to a particular point or question or bit of news that I haven’t received it and read it.

State rejects biblical theory of justice

I am hoping to provide more exposure to this evil system which prevents the rights of victims being satisfied and restored after a crime has been committed. The biblical model of justice, The godly ethic that he lays out in the early books in the Bible, is a victims’ rights.

The judge does not send anyone to prison. The judge has restitutional arrangements as one option, and in capital cases the death sentence. There is no prison sentence. The victim is the victim and the victims’ rights are paramount in the judge’s interest. There is no state acting as an independent corporation or an independent body that replaces the victim and is the aggrieved party in a case that we’ve today would style a “criminal case.” The state is a legal fiction, and an idol that we have raised up to worship. Its justice is not justice. Its systems are in many ways ungodly, an antichrist. Not only is public school making continual war against the gospel. Prisons and courts make continual incursions against justice and against God himself. These systems, we must understand, are a judgement against the house of God in all those people whom by grace, should benefit from the overflow of grace that God gives his people when they fear and worship him and commit to living out his commandments.

I have had contact with Sharon Rondeau. She was on my show this week to discuss a case out of Whiteville Correctional Facility in which a husband, Christopher Robertson, was being denied life-saving heart medication. Sharon is convinced that Laura’s contacting her made a difference in the goading administration to act quickly and give nitroglycerin to this inmate. We pray for you every time at family worship, Grenda. In Christ’s bonds, etc.

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