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LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas lawmakers have given initial approval to raising hazard pay for hundreds of officers and employees at four state prisons.

A legislative subcommittee Tuesday approved raising the hazard pay at the Cummins, East Arkansas, Varner and Varner Supermax facilities from 6 percent to 10 percent. The panel also approved raising the additional hazardous duty pay that some employees receive for working in those facilities' highest security areas by the same amount.

The department said the increases were targeted at facilities with the highest vacancy rates. The proposal doesn't include a hazard pay bump for employees at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker, which has had two high-profile disturbances recently.

The department's director said the $1.4 million needed to fund the increase will come from savings from those vacancies.

Read Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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  • AMA
    September 16, 2017 at 4:52 p.m.

    I have a son at East Ark regional , and if they are going to raise pay for the guards there , they need to teach them better communication skills , how to transfer a phone call , and to know who works there and who doesn't . I cannot count the times I've called and asked for the Wardens office and was transferred to the Barn or to the Mechanics shop . I once asked what time did the Warden come in because he seemed to never be available and I was told by an Officer Yarborough that " He doesn't have a set time , he comes and goes as he pleases " . I once asked to speak to someone about my son's medical issues , from the Wardens office , his secretary said I would have to speak to Mr Davis , whom I found out later had been gone for months . I was then transferred to Cynthia Hawkins , whom promised me she would get back to me , and although I called her back days later to remind her , she still has yet to call me . I know that it is prison life , and my son is there for a reason , although made to confess to a crime he didn't commit , and I know he is a grown man , but I am the only HELP he gets . He has stage 4 renal failure . They are not addressing his diet or his medical properly , I even over heard a guard tell him to starve to death he didn't give a flying f**k , while on the phone with my son .

    So if they need more pay , they need to put people in there that know how to deal with simple tasks as transferring phones or reading a computer screen . Stop the nonsense going on in there with the guards . My son was stabbed 4 times while a guard allowed the other inmate to go get the knives and pass them to a man who cut my son with intent to kill . That man and the man who got the knives have yet to receive just punishment for his actions .

    Signed , A concerned Mother