In the 1940s something occurred in Alderson besides
The event may actually had about as much of a lasting
effect on many of the employees of the Federal Reformatory as did
the conflict and which effects lives still today not only monetarily
but also in relationships formed at that time and still felt to
these times nearly three quarters of a century later.
Those Female Correctional Officer who were assigned
to a Cottage began work at 2:00PM . They were on duty for the very
important 4:00PM Count of Inmates that would assure that at that
time of day all Inmate were where they were supposed to be. Other
Official Counts, just as important to the orderly running of the
Institution were taken throughout the day. In addition,
Correctional Officers were expected to always be Counting and of
where their inmates were.
Correctional Officer was terminated for reasons not now known.
What is known is that she took issue with the action and secured an
attorney, Petar J. Betar from Huntington, WV. Attorney Betar later
was the candidate for Governor of the State of West Virginia.
Attorney Betar accepted the case on a Contingency Fee
Basis of 33 percent. He would pay all expenses of his clients(s),
and would be entitled to 1/3 of the Judgment if any, If he lost the
case he would get nothing.
He, rumor had it, then began to recruit, with some
success, other Correctional Officers to also allow him to represent
them with the same deal., in their suit as Injured Parties.
The 6th Judicial Court heard the case and
this is what happened.
Remember I told you Correctional Officer assigned to
Went to work at 2 PM? They, after supervising supper
and evening activities, conducted a Safety check of the building,
and retired to the Officers Room & Bath for the night. In event of
an emergency such as fire or sickness she would be awakened by the
Annunciator System connecting the Officers Room and the Inmates
Rooms and take appropriate action. The next morning she would
arise, awake the Kitchen Inmates and supervise Breakfast and after
an Official Count, send the inmates out to their jobs and then
supervise the Cottage Maintenance workers, after supervising the
Noon Meal she prepared her reports of the shift and be relieved by
another Correctional Officer at
The Officers said they had been required to be on the
job, and even though they might be sleeping or otherwise out of
direct contact with the Inmates, they were still responsible for the
safety and care of the Inmates and that therefore they were entitled
to pay for the entire time they had to be in the cottage, 24 hours,
instead of the 16 hours they had actually been paid!
The Bureau of Prisons were left with the fact that if
they were working as directed in the Post Orders then they must be
The 6th Judicial Federal Court agreed
with the Officers and ordered the BOP to compensate for all the
unpaid time for both current, retired, and even former employees who
had worked under those conditions.
The search of dusty and musty Time & Payroll Records
was a difficult task, but finally completed and the Officers were
paid. Both the officers who sued and who had to pay the attorney,
and also those didnít sue.. Which meant the Officers who did not sue
received roughly 1/3 more Back Pay than those who paid for the suit!
Some bad feelings resulted from the two Groups and remained for a
long time, even though only a few of the Principals are still
Back Pay Compensation ranged from a few dollars in some cases to as
much as $ 20K in others, Around