LANSING, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Corrections is investigating after an officer at the Lansing Correctional Facility was injured.
The agency confirmed the officer was hurt Wednesday evening.
“Investigators with the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) are investigating an incident at the Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) that occurred on the evening of November 3, 2021. In this incident, a corrections officer was injured by a resident, resulting in the hospitalization of that officer.”
“This is an ongoing investigation, and upon its conclusion the findings will be presented to the appropriate authorities for possible criminal prosecution.”
“The officer is in stable condition and health privacy laws do not permit the release of additional health information to the media.”Carol Pitts, Public Information Officer — Kansas Dept. of Corrections
The Kansas Organization of State Employees is the union that represents corrections officers at the prison. The union believes a male inmate assaulted the female corrections officer close to shift change Wednesday, which was around 5 p.m.
In a response to a request for information about the attack, the union responded with the following information:
“Reports from management are that she was attacked by one inmate on B2 unit, and punched repeatedly in the face and head. Reports from workers indicate that the inmate attached a padlock to a belt and beat her over the head, face and body with that. “
“She has, to our knowledge, sustained facial fractures and may have a severe head injury, and other broke bones. She was in ICU last night, in stable condition, but was heavily sedated, per KDOC.”
“There are also conflicting reports about how she was found – whether it was at shift change, or if inmates on her unit called in the alarm (meaning the inmates themselves reported the assault).”Sarah LaFrenz, KOSE President
The union also said that the prison is designed so that just one corrections officer is assigned to the pod where the injured officer worked. The officer is in charge of however many inmates are assigned to the pod.
The union said there have been complaints about safety issues at the prison for years.
“Our Union, KOSE, has for years advocated and pushed on the extremely dangerous staffing levels at this facility as well as other facilities throughout the state. Workers have spoken over and over again about the conditions to their management, and to this administration,”Sarah LaFrenz, KOSE President
A former corrections officer at the Kansas prison told FOX4 something like this was bound to happen, citing safety issues and lack of staff.
“People need to know how unsafe it is right outside that gate there in Lansing,” said Laura Calhoun, who worked at Lansing for nearly 25 years. She retired five months ago.
Calhoun said in one of those pods, which she and the union president said a corrections officer would patrol alone, there were usually more than 120 inmates.
“It’s not safe. You don’t have enough eyes,” Calhoun said. “Cameras only record. They don’t report.”
KOSE President Sarah Lafrenz and Calhoun said officers are also working 12-hour shifts — and sometimes 4 more hours on top of that.
“It’s just a matter of time before this all implodes, and nobody wants to talk about how it’s unsafe for the public, it’s unsafe for the staff and it’s definitely unsafe for the inmates that live there,” Calhoun said.
The Kansas Department of Corrections said the incident is under investigation, but declined to answer any further questions from FOX4.