Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jul 2001
Source: The Post and Courier (SC)
Copyright: 2001 Evening Post Publishing Co.
Author: Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press


COLUMBIA - The recent history of South Carolina prisons is the tale of two 
directors - one a tough Texan who whipped the system into shape but 
alienated his employees and the other an insider who soothed hard feelings 
but was too loyal to the men he worked alongside for nearly 30 years. A 
report on the state Corrections Department, written by two former FBI 
agents, says to understand the sex, drug and morale problems facing the 
prisons, you have to know the men who ran the system for nearly six years. 
Michael Moore was director of South Carolina's prisons for two years, 
leaving to become director of Florida's prisons in December 1998. Then 
Corrections Department veteran William "Doug" Catoe took over before being 
fired by Gov. Jim Hodges in January. The report on problems in the state's 
prisons was issued in April by agents Tommy Davis and Dodge Frederick. 
Frederick acted as interim director of prisons for about four months before 
Hodges hired former Oklahoma prison director Gary Maynard. "Over 28 years 
experience in prisons, I have learned where I fit," Maynard said. "And that 
would be somewhere between Mike Moore and Doug Catoe." Davis and 
Frederick's report said many employees never knew certain policies were in 
place. Hodges asked for the report in October after investigators verified 
nearly a dozen complaints of guards and prison employees having sex with 

There also were allegations of drug use in prison and cover-ups by guards 
and management. Phone messages were left with Florida prison officials for 
Moore and with Catoe's family in Columbia. Neither man called back. 
Employees, spurred by loyalty or fear, won't talk publicly about their 
former bosses.

And a spokesman for a national corrections agency refused to even talk 
hypothetically on how a director's personality can affect his job 
performance. Moore took over the department from Parker Evatt, who was 
chased into retirement after a trusty serving a life sentence raped a boy 
while running an errand outside prison gates. Critics wanted then-Gov. 
David Beasley to hire a tough director to whip the prisons back into shape. 
"It was a mess before Moore came on board," said Sen. David Thomas, who 
chaired the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee for six years while 
both Moore and Catoe ran the department. The report by Frederick and Davis 
praises Moore for tightening prison discipline. But the report quotes one 
unidentified senior official at the department as saying, "he declared war 
on the staff and inmates at the same time." Moore immediately stopped 
furloughs for violent prisoners and ended a sports league that bused 
inmates between prisons.

Inmates at one prison rioted a month after Moore started and some blamed 
the new director's stricter policies. Undaunted by the criticism, Moore 
would start even stricter policies limiting prisoners to 10 photographs 
each, banning new televisions and repairs of existing TVs and requiring 
inmates to get haircuts. Moore was tough on his staff, too, alienating many 
longtime employees.

At the time, Thomas thought Moore might have been too hard on prison 
employees. "But in retrospect, knowing what we know now, I wonder if his 
way was right," Thomas, R-Fountain Inn, said. When Catoe arrived, he 
immediately tried to soothe employees wounded by Moore's management style.

But Thomas said Catoe's kind streak was his downfall because he could not 
fire managers who were involved in wrongdoing or tried to cover up the 
misconduct. "Catoe grew up in the system," Thomas said. "He was too gentle 
on his own folks.

If you want to be a proper manager, you have to move that part of you 
aside." Thomas and some current members of the Senate Corrections and 
Penology Committee think internal investigators and high-ranking prison 
officials may have covered up sexual activity and drug selling in South 
Carolina prisons.

They say Catoe was not involved in the activity himself, but did not try to 
ferret out who did. The report by Frederick and Davis said the top 
management at the Corrections Department needed changing even before Hodges 
fired Catoe after allegations surfaced that guards allowed inmates on a 
work release program to have sex in the governor's house. "I think we'll 
find with Mr. Maynard the best of both worlds," Thomas said. "He seems to 
want strict regimentation in the prisons, but he seems to work well with 
his employees. "And because he is an outsider, he won't come in with the 
baggage of being friends with his managers."
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