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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

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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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