In October 2011, the U.S. commonwealth’s Department of Corrections announced plans to terminate 97 guards and suspend more than 100 others due to illegal drug use, contraband smuggling or unjustified absences from their jobs.
Sheila Padin, spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico DOC, said the firings and suspensions were the result of an ongoing investigation within the department. Jesus Gonzalez Cruz, the recently-appointed Corrections Secretary, notified the guards by letter of their termination or suspension, according to Padin.
The disciplinary sanctions shouldn’t affect prison operations, she said, since 325 new guards had graduated from the Puerto Rico DOC academy in June 2011 and another 260 guards were expected to graduate in the near future.
In April 2012, a Puerto Rico prison transport guard was found guilty in the drowning deaths of eight prisoners when their van drove into floodwaters. [See: PLN, Oct. 2012, p.49].
Source: Associated Press
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