TBI investigating Shelby County Penal Farm, Memphis Mental Health Institute

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said special agents are investigating allegations involving employees at the Memphis Mental Health Institute and inmates at the Shelby County Penal Farm.

TBI Spokesperson, Josh DeVine, said the investigation began Friday at the request of Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

On Monday, WREG spoke to several people coming and going from the building in the medical district. Those who said they worked for MMHI either said they didn't know about the investigation or they were asked not to speak to the media.

The psychiatric facility has been around since 1962. According to the state's website, the 55-bed institution has voluntary and involuntary hospitalization. Patients can also be referred by the courts for pre-trail evaluations.

DeVine would not say how or if the investigations into the Shelby County Penal Farm and MMHI  were connected. When WREG pressed for more details DeVine said the TBI  had no additional comments.

Another spokesperson with the Shelby County, Steve Shular, confirmed the Penal Farm is being investigated, but said all information was to come from the TBI.

While employees of MMHI stayed mum when WREG tried talking to them outside of the facility, Chris Jone, a spokesperson with the state overseeing the Institute, said they were notified of TBI`s investigating and are cooperating fully with their efforts.

He went on to say, "Upon the completion of the TBI's investigation we will release a full statement detailing what we know and what actions have been taken. It is our Department's highest goal to provide the highest level of quality care to those in need of inpatient psychiatric services."

As soon as WREG receives more information we will pass it along.


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