For a prison guard collapsing under the pressure of 100 percent humidity and high temperatures, help came from an unlikely source. And for six inmates, it was a chance to prove that they weren’t all bad.
The prisoners were doing a work detail cleaning up a cemetery for Father’s Day in Polk County, Georgia when the guard watching over them let them know he wasn’t feeling well. He even told them where his phone was in case he needed help, according to FOX 59.
For many, it would seem odd for a guard to put himself in such a vulnerable position with prisoners he’s tasked with keeping from escaping, but it’s a testament to the relationship of trust that can develop between a guard and his longtime prisoners. And on last Monday, it was the right decision.
Under the heat, the guard soon went down. That’s when six of the inmates rushed into action, using the guard’s phone to call 911 and removing his heavy bulletproof vest so they could perform CPR if needed.
“He had his face down. He was breathing really hard,” one inmate said. “So we went over there and we turned him over and made sure he was OK.”
“He was breathing really heavy and really fast,” another inmate described.
They acknowledged that they could easily have taken that opportunity to run away.
“Anything could have been done,” said one inmate. “Anything could have happened. But all the right things happened, and that what makes that whole day just so much better.”
Emergency responders soon arrived and praised the inmates’ quick actions. But the sheriff’s office and the guard’s family were particularly thankful.
As a reward, the inmates were treated to a nice lunch and given desserts by the officer’s family. But that was just the start. Sheriff Johnny Moats announced Tuesday that he was going to reduce each of the inmates’ sentences by 25 percent for their actions, according to KTLA 5.
He explained, “Anytime we have a trustee or inmate crew, that goes beyond normal duties, we cut them some extra time off.”
NBC-affiliate 11 Alive caught up with the inmates to hear their full account of what happened that day:
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