Charges dropped in Johnson County Jail spork breaking incident

Sheriff decides to treat incident as inmate rules violation

Tera Harris (Johnson County Sheriff's Office)
Tera Harris (Johnson County Sheriff's Office)

The Johnson County Attorney’s Office has decided to dismiss a criminal mischief charge filed against a woman in the county jail who is accused of breaking a spork on Sunday.

Tera Grace Harris, 25, of North Liberty, was charged with fifth-degree criminal mischief after she was seen on video intentionally bending the spork that came with her dinner tray until it broke.

She told deputies, after breaking the spoon-fork hybrid, that she was trying to cut her roast beef, according to the criminal complaint.

In a statement from Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek today, he said Harris not only was accused of breaking the spork but of being disruptive, combative and difficult to handle. She was given a food tray long after normal inmate meal times, according to Pulkrabek, and she is accused of throwing food around her cell block before intentionally breaking the spork.

The sporks are “specially designed for institutions that allow for them to be washed and re-used and are semi-indestructible,” Pulkrabek said in the statement.

“The decision to charge the person for the damage is not uncommon in the jail,” he said. “But in this case, a determination was made to handle it internally now via inmate rules violation instead of pursuing the criminal violation.”

At the time of the incident, Harris was in custody on more serious charges – third-degree theft . She is currently being held in the Johnson County Jail in lieu of a $2,500 bond.

Harris also has open cases for felony second-degree criminal mischief and drug charges. Her criminal history in Johnson County is lengthy.