Nebraska High Security Prison Chaotic After Error Causes Cell Doors to Open

Cell Doors open at Tecumseh State Correctional Institute in Nebraska

By Christopher Zoukis Shortly before 10:00 a.m. on September 7, 16 single-occupancy cells in a restrictive housing section of Nebraska’s top-security prison, the Tecumseh State Correctional Institute, unexpectedly opened. The cause of this irregularity was not certain, but a computer error in the system which controls the cellblock doors was…

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BOP Orders Staff Cuts of Nearly 14 Percent

By Christopher Zoukis In twin developments as the Trump administration developed its new budget proposal, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) told federal prison officials to prepare for across-the-board reductions in authorized staffing levels of nearly 12 percent, and ordered them to identify inmates now in federally-run facilities who could…

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Prisoner’s Escape from Understaffed Private Prison Results in Staff Discipline

By Christopher Zoukis Four guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island were placed on administrative leave after a prisoner escaped on New Years Eve 2016. James Morales, 35, scaled the backboard of a basketball goal in the facility’s recreation yard, cut through a fence…

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Michigan Opens Prison Museum in Presently Operating Prison Facility

By Christopher Zoukis The Michigan Department of Corrections has opened a prison museum — at the still-in-operation State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson. Opened June 25, 2014, the Cell Block 7 Prison Museum charges $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for a local museum society’s members, and $8.00 for children ages…

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Ohio Prison Guards Cited for Sexual Misconduct with Prisoners


By Chris Zoukis Several Ohio state prison guards have been disciplined following at least 19 allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships with female prisoners between 2012 and 2013. Most of the allegations arose shortly after the Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI) switched from a male-only to an all-female prison in…

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Forty Defendants, Including 24 Guards, Convicted in Widespread Corruption Scandal at Baltimore City Jail

By Christopher Zoukis The confessed leader of a powerful gang inside the Baltimore City Detention Center was the government’s star witness at the trial of eight remaining defendants in a widespread racketeering, drug smuggling, bribery, extortion and money laundering operation that resulted in criminal charges against dozens of guards, prisoners,…

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News Bites

Alabama: A March 2, 2014 fight at the Elmore Correctional Facility resulted in eight prisoners being transported to Jackson Hospital, where three were admitted for further treatment. Details on the extent of the prisoners’ injuries and the circumstances of the fight were not released. Argentina: Raunchy photos depicting female jail…

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Prison News in Brief: Michigan through Texas

By Prison Legal News

Michigan Prison News

On August 6, 2013, a jury returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of Lansing jail guard David Gladstone, who was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a prisoner.  Although Gladstone was found not guilty, an internal investigation is pending to determine whether he violated any department policies or procedures.  Jail guard Gladstone had been suspended from the Lansing jail pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

New York Prison News

A violent, bloody brawl broke out among rival gangs — the Trinitarians and the Crips — at Rikers Island on August 22, 2013.  As many as 50 prisoners were involved in the melee, which was reportedly triggered over the use of a hot plate to cook a grilled cheese sandwich.  The fight lasted nearly an hour and eleven Rikers Island prisoners and a guard were injured.  In surveillance video, prisoners were seen attacking each other with mop handles and hurling chairs; one prisoner also threw hot water, and several suffered serious stab wounds.

Rhode Island Prison News

On July 18, 2013, Gaulter Botas, a former prison guard at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute, received an 18-month prison sentence.  Botas had assaulted prisoners by hitting one with a telephone book and another with a plastic clipboard, a package of paper, a bag of food, and his closed fist.  Four Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute prisoners said they were assaulted by Botas and another guard, Kenneth Viveiros.  Botas’ conviction was upheld in April 2013 by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and a superior court judge rejected his motion for a reduced sentence.  In 2006, Botas and Viveiros were among a number of prison guards named in a lawsuit alleging that they had made a prisoner eat his own feces; that suit settled for $120,000.

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Pennsylvania Prison Guards, Sergeants Out-earn Supervisors

By David M. Reutter

Life in prison has always been far different than life in the free world. An investigation by the Pittsburgh-Gazette into the wages of Pennsylvania prison employees revealed one of those differences – an Alice-in-Wonderland quality to the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) pay scale.

Typically, an employee’s higher rank merits greater pay. Yet Pennsylvania prison guards, who occupy the bottom rung of the DOC’s employment ladder, are some of the state’s highest paid prison workers.

For example, of the 23 employees at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Pittsburgh who earned more than $100,000 in 2011, 21 were guards or sergeants. That same year, the best-paid captain at SCI Pittsburgh earned less than $88,000 while the top-paid lieutenant made $73,817. One guard, whose base pay was around $51,000, padded his income with leave pay, shift differentials and overtime to earn a total of $139,571. His overtime pay alone was approximately $75,000.

“That guy works every minute he can,” said David Mandella, local vice president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Association (PSCOA).

Of the $5.5 million in overtime paid at SCI Pittsburgh in 2011 – representing 17.3% of the prison’s total payroll – $4.9 million went to guards and sergeants. “[Overtime] costs have increased over the years to a current cost … of $50 million” systemwide, said DOC spokeswoman Susan McNaughton.

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