Seven State Prison Guards Fired for Using Excessive Force at Eastern Arkansas Unit

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A spokeswoman for the state Dept. of Correction says seven prison guards at the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys were fired this week for using excessive force on maximum-security inmates.

Spokeswoman Dina Tyler says four of the guards are women and three are men.

Earlier this year, the FBI said it would investigate whether the civil rights of state prisoners were violated by guards who allegedly beat them.  The state also said it would conduct its own investigation, and Tyler says the firings were the result of that.

Six of the guards' names were not released because they have the right to appeal the decision.  Tyler says the other fired guard is 37-year-old Lt. Cheryl Evans, who has been with the department since September 1993.  Tyler says she could release Evans' name because Evans was ineligible to appeal her termination because of her rank as lieutenant.

From Sept. 2006 to June, Tyler says the guards inappropriately used pepper spray on inmates or hit the inmates without probable cause.

The all-male prison in Lee County has 1.550 inmates and 350 correctional officers.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)