The pay scale for inmate workers at Herlong Prison Camp is as followed:
Grade 4: $0.12 an hour
Grade 3: $0.17 an hour
Grade 2: $0.24 an hour
Grade 1: $0.40 an hour plus a 50% bonus for being the “lead.”
As I understood the grading scale, and I could be wrong, the Grade 1, sometimes called “number ones” were the foremen of the Power House, or GM6. The COs would discuss project assignments and figure out how to best manage the projects. The Grade 2, or the number 2’s, would take the instructions from the number ones. They would be the sidekick or the assistants to the number ones. The number 2s would also take the lead role if the number ones were unavailable. The number threes and fours, or the Grade 3’s and 4’s, would provide extra help if needed.
When I worked at the Power House, I worked from 7:30 am to about 2:00 pm. The COs could have kept us until 3:30 because they paid us for seven hours. We only really worked six after an hour break.
When I was a Grade 4, I made about seventeen dollars that month. I become a Grade 3 once I showed proof of my GED (or high school diploma), at which time, I made about twenty-four dollars a month. When I got promoted to Grade 2, my pay was about forty dollars a month.
If I worked hard and pleased the COs, I could get bonuses up to fifty percent of my base pay. Sometimes I even got as much as doubled my pay because I worked several hours beyond my normal hours. Like at seven at night or just after dinner. The most I made in any one month was eighty-three dollars.
Some departments, like the Power House, tried to keep a small group of inmate workers. This was to give the inmates the best possible learning experience and to increase their pay. There was only a small amount of money approved for inmate pay. There was no way to go over budget until the COs had talked to their superiors to increase inmate pay.