TX Prison Major Quits, Four Fired Over Phony Discipline

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A Texas prison major has resigned in an investigation into allegations he orchestrated the planting of two screwdrivers in an inmate’s cell apparently as part of a disciplinary quota system, the Houston Chronicle reports. Four other officers were fired in connection with the investigation into the planted evidence, said Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel. “This appears to be an isolated incident that started with that major,” Desel said. “All parties involved including that major did not show integrity and did not uphold what is one of this agency’s core values.” Jennifer Erschabek of Texas Inmate Families Association said. “We’ve been claiming in the past that family members are being set up with these cases, but it’s been so hard to prove — and we finally have the proof.”

The quota for writing inmate disciplinary reports came to light in May after the  Chronicle obtained copies of an email from Capt. Reginald Gilbert ordering officers to write up at least two prisoner cases daily or face disciplinary consequences themselves. Any sergeants who missed their daily quota, Gilbert wrote, would face consequences ranging from documenting the oversight on an employee performance log to formal disciplinary action. The scheme was designed to avoid audits. Weeks later, prison officials abandoned the quota system, but the criminal justice department started investigating after the Chronicle reported on the short-lived scheme. On May 25, a prisoner’s mother sent a letter to the department’s inspector general alleging that her son had been set up with a bogus case by guards. 

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