2 correctional officers attacked in Lansing in less than a month | News
LANSING, KS (KCTV) – For the second time in less than a month, an officer at the Lansing Correctional Facility was assaulted by an inmate, according to the union representing Kansas correctional officers.
Sarah LaFrenz, president of the Kansas State Employee Organization, said the most recent attack occurred at 4:45 a.m. Monday at a maximum security unit and the guard was working alone in the facility. a unit with more than 100 prisoners.
“Our understanding is that the prisoner used a bar of soap in a sock, or similar, to hit the officer in the face and head,” LaFrenz said.
She said the correctional staff member attacked on November 3 spent the night in the ICU and is still recovering.
She acknowledged the injuries of the officer attacked Monday were less severe than what the first officer was still receiving, but she suggested it was not due to any improvement in personnel or establish.
“The definition of insanity is continuing to do things the same way and expecting a different outcome,” says LaFrenz. “We’re very fortunate that things aren’t worse than they used to be, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to rely on luck to keep workers in a safe environment.”
There is no denying that there is a shortage of personnel at Lansing. Vacancies for uniformed positions are three times higher than at the beginning of the year.
In January, it’s the 27th.
By July, it’s 53.
At the beginning of this month, there were 73.
The most recent number available, as of last week, has gone up to 83.
The HR challenge is not unique to Lansing.
System-wide, the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) reported a total of 433 vacancies with uniforms and 64 positions without uniforms. That’s a total of almost 500.
Last week, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced incentives that include a base salary increase of 5% or more, plus additional pay differentials that vary by location and workplace.
“It’s been a great start, great in this regard, but it will take time to settle in,” commented LaFrenz.
She said the union had asked for at least changes to the barricade such as requiring managers to go into units to assist guards. After the November 3 attacks, she claimed the union had received no response from the KDOC regarding additional safety measures.
“Here we are, second time we’re talking, same incident, and we still haven’t seen any real change,” lamented LaFrenz.
A look at reports across the country shows that prison shortages are affecting many other states as well.
LaFrenz says that fixing is just the first step. She argues that even what counts as full payroll is not enough.
KCTV5 sent several inquiries Tuesday to a KDOC spokesperson seeking feedback and has yet to receive a response.
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