Georgia Prison Guards Face Indictment

Several prison guards were arrested this week on the charges of using the status of their uniforms in order to both help and protect a big-time drug trafficker in their effort to smuggle copious amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine throughout Georgia. However, what makes this story even more unique than it already is is that there never was a high-level drug trafficker involved. These guards are the latest victims of an FBI sting operation called “Operation Ghost Guard.”

In an article published yesterday in the Augusta Chronicle, the extent of Operation Ghost Guard was put in to full detail:

A total of 46 current and former correctional officers, along with two civilians and one inmate, were arrested Thursday in the latest phase of an undercover federal investigation targeting contraband and criminal activity in Georgia prisons, authorities said. Since September, about 130 people – including prison employees, inmates, former inmates and others accused of helping them – have been indicted in the effort, known as Operation Ghost Guard.

As can be derived from above, this operation has been ongoing and has led to the indictment of several people involved in Georgia’s prison system. Operation Ghost Guard began when the FBI was able to trace several mysterious phone calls received by people all across the country back to some contraband cell phones that had found their way into the hands of some of Georgia’s inmates. Naturally, this raised the question of how the cell phones were making their way into the prisons, and the investigation began from there.

Given the extent of the criminal activity that Ghost Guard has uncovered since its inception, U.S. Attorney John Horn asserts that the problem goes far beyond criminal charges and indictments.

“These are systemic problems that were uncovered in these cases, and they’re going to require more comprehensive solutions,” Horn said.

Some have argued that part of what has caused this problem is that it has been hard to attract solid officers to a job with low pay and little benefits, and as a result, the Department of Corrections has begun working with Governor Deal and the General Assembly to find ways in which this problem can be rectified in order to ensure that Georgia is able to employ quality correctional officers moving forward.

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This is an old problem but it’s closely related to the problems of retaining both juvenile and adult correctional officers. Poor pay, poor training, poor hours, poor support from above, all are factors in guards ending up on the payroll of those they’re guarding.

I’ll never understand why Jason Carter’s campaign for Gov ignored the high turnover rate and the costs of replacing COs as cited in this audit.


Dept of Corrections was one of the agencies given more than 3% for pay raises due to high turnover in this year’s proposed budget. Hopefully they can attract some folks that don’t feel the temptation to supplement their income this way.


I thought I read somewhere recently that the guv put in his budget request that most state employees and teachers get a 3% increase and corrections officers (and maybe another group?) get a 10% bump.


When we debase the law enforcement institution at today’s level it also rots those inside. The line of thought to raise pay for guards as a crime deterrent is related to some cities establishing pay to criminals for not committing crimes. This Is more related to the war on the law enforcement institution. It is out of balance of a lawful society from the violence and riots in the name of Justice, to community leaders degrading police as a first position to humor like the Prius Toyota ad campaign to Beyoncé at the super bowl. The we have the cops… Read more »


Perhaps semantic, but I’m in no way saying that we must pay them to deter crime. What I am saying if you pay significantly below prevailing wage for the profession or professionalism expected and required, you’re only going to get the incompetent or the corrupt to do the work. Corollary is the Dept of Ag salary for food inspectors under the old regime. Pay was so low that turnover was abysmally high. Those that were there were barely trained. Whether on the take or just incompetent, the result was one company was able to contaminate the entire country’s food supply… Read more »


Semantics or reality, I’ll agree there is a pay level that could be too low for the job but I’ll chose reality for $2,000.
You can’t pay crooks enough to stay honest.
I can’t directly speak to prison guards pay levels or motivations or required skills. In general most trade pay for benefits. The benefits are usually pretty sweet aka damn expensive in these type jobs.


Got off my primary position and long time experience on the importance of recognition and respect and that we are systematically denigrating this institution.

I did a bit of checking and observed that you are correct that the state pays comparatively low. However, the Corrections officers reflected their job positive was excellent benefits and their negative was poor administration.

We could shift some budgeting and trade some early retirement benefits for more pay, but how do we fix the administrators or the denigrations by the media and public ?