ATLANTA, DEC. 6 -- Hostages held during prison riots in Atlanta and Louisiana will get extra pay, $1,000 bonuses and a vacation, officials said. Total cost of the uprisings by Cuban detainees was put in the tens of millions of dollars.
Bureau of Prisons officials at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary said the former hostages will receive 40 hours of pay for each day they were held, a week of paid vacation and the bonus -- for a total outlay of about $500,000.
Abdul Saboor Rushdan, a guard who was one of four hostages released by Atlanta inmates on Dec. 1, said today that the ex-hostages received $1,000 bonus checks Saturday and were told they would get eight hours straight time for each day held hostage, plus 16 hours of overtime at time and a half and double time for each day they would have been off.
He also said Bureau of Prisons officials told them the policy would apply to hostages held at the Oakdale, La., federal detention center, where the first of two Cuban uprisings began Nov. 21 and ended Nov. 29. Atlanta inmates took their first hostages Nov. 23 and released the last 89 of them Friday.
"I think it was fair as far as the financial losses," Rushdan said.
Preliminary estimates of damage to a dozen buildings at the Atlanta prison and at Oakdale are $20 million to $30 million, Bureau of Prisons spokesman John Vanyur said.
A massive cleanup job awaits Atlanta prison officials, who so far have refused news media requests to see the rubble inside the 85-year-old facility.
Authorities said 936 Cubans were removed from the fire-ravaged Atlanta prison Friday and Saturday and transferred to other detention facilities. The remaining 186 were locked in an undamaged cell block because other prisons were full.
Local governments also face high costs. The Atlanta Police Bureau spent $66,000 to keep 25 officers on the scene full time, police said. The Atlanta Fire Bureau stationed a 44-person contingent at the prison in three shifts around the clock at a cost of nearly $195,000.
Officials said it might be next week before they determine the cost of sending FBI agents to the facility in southeast Atlanta from Philadelphia and Chicago.
Costs for use of National Guard troops and their helicopters, and 1,500 soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., have yet to be tabulated.