Arkansas prison guards to keep jobs after #FeelingCute posts
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Some Arkansas prison officers took part in an online craze posting selfies with captions joking about solitary confinement and sexual conduct with inmates, but none of them has been dismissed, a spokesman for the Department of Correction said.
The officers were taking part in a #FeelingCute challenge in which uniformed guards post selfies in a private Facebook group and describe what they’ll do during their shifts. Last month, four Texas prison guards were fired and two resigned after authorities deemed their #FeelingCute posts inappropriate.
Solomon Graves, the public information officer for the state Department of Correction, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the department was alerted about two weeks ago of staff members joining the challenge and the employees were ordered to stop.
In one post, two women wearing what appear to be Arkansas prison worker uniforms make suggestive comments about the inmates. The woman who posted the photo indicates she’s a Jefferson County employee.
Another post appeared to show a male Arkansas prison worker wearing a guard uniform, with the caption reading, “Feeling cute, might take your girl to seg later, idk.” The caption on his post was referring to segregation housing, which is solitary confinement. The abbreviation “idk” stands for “I don’t know.”
The man who posted the social media photo and the name displayed on his social media profile matches the identity of a corporal at the Department of Correction.
Neither of the employees who posted the photos replied to requests for comment.
“Staff participating in the challenge are subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination,” Graves said, adding that the department has terminated no one because of the posts.
“It’s obviously inappropriate,” said state Sen. Joyce Elliott, who is the former chairman of a legislative subcommittee that supervises the Department of Correction. “I would like to think that this is not the kind of judgment that spills over into their ability to do their jobs.”
In recent years, the prison agency has had a difficult time recruiting and keeping corrections officers. The state department has also dealt with a series of assaults on staff members by inmates and the funneling of illegal drugs into prisons.
In April, the department of corrections reported 500 openings out of 4,586 official positions for corrections officers.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com