Mt. To Study Prison Guard Antiprofessional Culture


The culture of guards in Montana prisons will ge studied after a series of suicides, reports the Billings Gazette. Since July, four inmates at Montana State Prison have killed themselves. Most recently, death row inmate Rodney Sattler, 36, was found hanged in his cell last week. Of the four deaths, two were on death row, one was housed in the regular prison, and one was in a special wing for new arrivals. Before those four deaths, no inmate in the prison had killed himself since 1991.

To help prevent more suicides, corrections chief Bill Slaughter last week announced he was hiring a deputy warden–a position which has been open for more than a year as a way of saving money. He said that an outside expert will review all parts of Montana State Prison this month and make recommendations about how to prevent suicides.

Slaughter said his department has won a grant from the National Institute of Corrections to help change a “culture among guards” that some rural prisons seem to foster: a sentiment among some that their job is an entitlement and that professionalism is not required. Slaughter said he didn’t think that issue caused the suicides, but he said that it needs attention.


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