Prison superintendent suspended after claims of hot sauce abuse

jshaffer@newsobserver.comDecember 4, 2012 

— State officials have suspended the superintendent of a Sampson County prison where inmates claim they were forced to drink hot sauce and rub it on their genitals.

Lafayette Hall is on leave with pay while the investigation continues, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pamela Walker. Also, she said the department has sent a letter to the State Bureau of Investigation asking if they will review the allegations and if they believe criminal acts were committed.

In July, six inmates at the Clinton prison wrote a letter to U.S. District Court asking for help. In it, they detail being made to drink and slather themselves with “exotic hot sauce” available only on the Internet, to kiss deadly snakes on the mouth and to simulate sex acts while working on a road crew.

In their letter, they say they performed these acts in exchange for favors such as food and cigarettes, and for the chance to work for 70 cents a day.

A magistrate judge treated their letter as a civil rights complaint and dismissed it for not following proper legal procedures, but she left the door open for the inmates to file suit in the proper venue.

Hall was hired as superintendent in 2000, having served 10 previous years as assistant. Two other officers were transferred during the investigation. Its completion date is not yet known.

Shaffer: (919) 829-4818

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