I was going to chime in on the newspaper reporting about the George Hill prison guard that got beat up by an inmate but decided to enjoy the nice weather instead. Now that the Delaware County District Attorney expressed my very sentiments, I guess I’ll write what I was going to write. 

Here’s what DA Jack had to say…

“This was a brutal attack on a corrections officer who was simply doing his job,” said Stollsteimer. “Media attention has focused on the chronic issues of understaffing and poor training that have plagued GEO’s operation of the county jail.”

Thanks for that Jack.

The original article spanned three pages in the paper not including the front page. Only about 50 words had anything to do with the beat down. 

The beaten guard was putting an inmate in his cell when the inmate hit him, body-slammed him to the ground and continued throwing punches, a guard said.

The officer was reportedly hospitalized with several broken bones, staples in his head, possible internal bleeding and is expected to require physical therapy just to walk again.

The rest of the article was about whether the prison has enough guards on staff or not. 

Obviously, somebody is lying. Reading that article was like listening to a bunch a third graders in the principal’s office during a he-said she-said entanglement.

The guards say…

  • The inmate should never have been in general (population). He is always involved in something. But they could care less about our safety.
  • There were two officers present at the time of the beating, but “the training is so bad the one officer just watched.” The second officer later said he was afraid to intervene because people have been fired for use of force
  • The prison was short 13 corrections officers that day. That number had swelled to 18 officers short and three sergeants on Saturday.
  • They had, like, 41 no-calls, no-shows for people. It’s probably five or six (absent) a shift
  • The prison remains drastically understaffed and guards are still being mandated to work 16 hours straight every other day.
  • We’re 20 short almost every day
  • GEO is counting those on medical leave and in active military service in its employment figures, which does not reflect the reality of staffing in the prison itself.
  • We were short every day this week
  • You go in and you’re getting told you’re working 16 hours a day, and if you don’t stay, you’re getting fired
  • We’re supposed to have 36 sergeants, we have 33. Nobody is putting in for that position because nobody wants to work for these people.

The GEO Group who manages the prison says…

  • The assault took place about 11 p.m. in the presence of other officers who “immediately secured the inmate.”
  • The facility was “fully staffed” at the time of the incident
  • The facility is currently at a 96-percent staffing level with three additional staff starting next week.
  • The staff to inmate ratio has never been healthier in the history of George W. Hill
  • The staff vacancy penalty and rate is commensurate with normal turnover, and is in fact lower than historical trends.
  • Any allegations alluding to staffing concerns or shortages is completely inaccurate.
  • The present staffing plan takes leave categories into account. 
  • We will remain vigilant throughout our entire operations as we continue our commitment to meeting the health and safety needs of the county.

County Government says…

  • We get a staffing report every month and they have been consistently understaffed, and this month is no exception. They’re at 95 percent staffing and consequently there was a nearly $100,000 penalty that the county receives from GEO because of their understaffing. But we would much rather have a fully staffed jail than we would seeing penalties from GEO.
  • I’m pretty sure GEO cares about money and they’re sending pretty significant amounts back to the county because of their understaffing issues
  • The county does not have any mechanism to change the corporate culture, only to enforce staffing shortfalls with penalties.
  • As far as staffing, the board is not involved

In the meantime, a prison guard was beat to a pulp. The 20-year old who beat him is up on new charges. Prison guards are scared, understaffed, and don’t like their boss. The management company says all is within what they consider okay and normal. The County keep cashing GEO’s checks for understaffing but can’t do anything more but to watch from afar waiting their turn to take over prison operations someday soon.

And the newspaper leaves it up to you to sort out the lies.