Former guards discuss security and staffing issues in the Lansing, Kansas prison

Lansing, Kan. – After two guards were attacked, the Lansing Correctional Facility has now banned visits and is keeping some inmates mostly in their cells.

“It’s the inmates who run the prison, and I’m afraid for the guards who are still working there.”

Terrifying words from a former Lansing Correctional Facility guard who said she was concerned for the safety of the guards still working there.

Second officer attacked by an inmate at Lansing Correctional Facility in less than a month

Stacia Gruber said she still had nightmares about her job in prison four years ago. One day, she said, 50 male inmates surrounded her and threatened to hurt her.

“They wanted to rip my tongue out and put it through my eye sockets,” she said.

Gruber pressed her panic button repeatedly. It took six minutes for help to arrive.

“I asked to take me somewhere where I wouldn’t be brought together with them,” said Gruber.

She asked everyone for help, from her line manager to the director to her union.

“The next thing I know is that I’m going to be put in a cell capsule that only contains these gang members,” Gruber said. “I’m left alone.”

A guard looks after 130 men. She said the last straw came when the men showed her a photo of their young children and told her to stop or something. She said she did, but the Kansas Department of Corrections denied it and told FOX4 that she was fired but could not provide any details about it.

However her job ended, Gruber’s concerns about the violence in Lansing turned out to be forward-looking. Two guards were attacked by inmates just last month. Another former guard, who resigned shortly before the two attacks, said she feared for her safety almost every day.

“If you’re the only officer doing the rounds with all these inmates floating around, we won’t have a panic button,” said Mirela Green, who left the facility earlier this year.

She said her only way to warn someone if an inmate was about to attack her was with a radio that she might not be able to reach in time.

“It doesn’t matter if you are in the maximum, medium or minimum, any officer can be attacked in any part of the prison,” said Green, who worked in prison for eight months.

She said she was also hired to guard over 100 men alone. The job, she said, became more and more unbearable as more guards resigned and the prison introduced a 12-hour work day to make sure there were enough staff on duty.

That made matters worse.

“When the 12-hour shift started, a lot more officers left,” said Green.

The prison reported more than 80 vacancies that month. The guards still employed in Lansing are overworked and overwhelmed.

They are “worn out,” said Green. “The inmates can feel that in us. You can read us very well.
I’m afraid for the rest of the officers because I think the prisoners will take over. “

She said inmates had started hoarding food and putting their blankets over their cell windows – two signs that more serious problems might arise.

The Kansas Department of Corrections has admitted the prison staffing problems. In response, it said in a press release that it has temporarily increased security guard charges, closed visiting bans, and medium and maximum residential units from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. areas have been closed.

The shortage of staff at the Kansas prison means Lansing inmates cannot see their families

The correctional officers union, the Kansas Organization of State Employees, denied allegations that it had not done enough to help guards work in dangerous conditions. A statement said: “We recognize that the work of our correctional officers in state prisons such as the Lansing Correctional Facility is challenging, stressful and potentially dangerous. We are fully committed to the safety and wellbeing of all workers we represent, including government workers at LCF. When two officers were attacked by inmates at the LCF last month, we quickly alerted the governor’s office and the media to shed light on long-standing problems of staff shortages in state correctional facilities. We have and will fight tirelessly for every worker our union represents. This includes working with Governor Kelly to ensure much-needed pay increases for workers in 24-hour state facilities, secure safety equipment for all prison security guards, and successfully negotiate better overtime policies for law enforcement officers. “

Its goals include “ensuring the much-needed wage increases for workers in government 24-hour facilities, acquiring safety equipment, and successfully negotiating better overtime regulations.”


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