Staffing dozens short at Tucker Max, where breakouts occurred UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Staffing dozens short at Tucker Max, where breakouts occurred UPDATE

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The security staff at the Tucker Maximum Security prison, where inmates have twice overpowered guards in the last 16 days, is about 24 percent below authorized force.

Solomon Graves, the prison spokesman, said Tucker Max is authorized to have 208 security positions, but there are 49 vacancies — 45 correctional officers, three sergeants and one major.

Does staffing explain the recent security breaches? What, exactly, happened in each of these breaches? Punishment will be meted out to prisoners, but is there any responsibility to be assessed against staff? Will Department Director Wendy Kelley ever answer questions about these and other prison issues?

There are many questions, but not many answers as yet.

UPDATE: In its way, this Q&A between Jacob Rosenberg of the times and Solomon Graves of the Correction Department is instructive:

1. Is the fact that Varner Max prison is short of officers a reason for the 2 incidents that have occurred?

I am assuming that you are referring to the Maximum Security Unit where yesterday’s incident took place. The contributing factors that led to yesterday’s incident will be identified during the Critical Incident Review.

2. How many of the current Tucker Max employees are new to working for ADC within the last year?

I will not be able to get you that information today. I will have to get the answer from our Human Resources Department.

3. Is the warden available for comment?

No, comments on behalf of the Unit and Department will be made through my office.

4. Has the number of vacancies at the Tucker Max grown within the last year? If so, by how much?

I will not be able to get you that information on today. I will have
to get the answer from the Human Resources Department.
Graves did confirm later that Monday's breakout occurred in a housing unit of the prison while the July 22 breakout was in the east isolation yard.

ALSO: AP dislodged through an FOI request that inmates in the Monday breakout had stolen keys from guards. Officials also found a key on a bus used to transfer the inmates to another facility afterward. Inmates also apparently came into possession of a Taser in the incident.


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