Claims of inmate beatings at a southeast Georgia prison will be thoroughly investigated and may lead to changes in the Department of Corrections, Commissioner James Donald told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations by a former guard at Rogers State Prison that handcuffed inmates there are routinely beaten. Five employees, including the warden and deputy warden, have been suspended with pay while investigators check out claims made by guard Tommy Cardell. A sixth guard has been suspended for allegedly striking an inmate over the Memorial Day weekend.
Cardell has claimed he tried to tell supervisors about what he had saw but was brushed off and fired for being a whistle-blower. Cardell was rehired, kept on suspension with pay until the investigation is over. Donald said he may hire an “ombudsman, an advocate for the inmate – perhaps on our staff,” Donald said. Several prison agencies around the nation employ ombudsmen. Donald said it “would bother me tremendously” if Cardell’s allegations were initially ignored by his own investigators. The prison involved is a medium-security farm where inmates produce food for the system.