Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update: Some Answers But Still More Questions in the Death of a Correctional Officer

This is an update to yesterdays story "Pictures Seem to Indicate that CCA Negligence Could Have Led to Officers Death at Adams County Correctional Facility." The original story can be found here.

News media reports have reported that the murdered Corrections Corporation of America staff member was called into work as a member of the facilities special response team to deal with the riot. According to those same reports he was on the roof of the Adams County Correctional Facility to observe and deploy chemical agents against the rioting prisoners. Significant questions still remain on how this ladder got onto the facilities recreation yard and came to be in the physical possession of rioting prisoners. Reports now seem to indicate that the murdered CCA staff member along with another CCA staff member were confronted by ten to fifteen prisoners. This violent confrontation was allegedly in response to these staff members having deploying chemical agents during CCA's tactical response to end the riot.

The existence of this ladder is still very troubling and continues to pose significant questions that CCA still has not publicly answered. Was it used by these staff members to access the roof or did prisoners gain access to a ladder inside of the Corrections Corporation of America prison? If it was used by CCA staff members to gain access to the roof then why did no CCA staff members maintain control of the ladder and why was it used in an area where inmates could gain possession of it?

Keep in mind that a ladder is a very sensitive tool in a prison. As a tool that could be used in an escape very specific internal and external tool control policies and procedures apply. American Correctional Association (ACA) standards on tool control also would be applicable. If the staff members were given the ladder by other staff members to access the roof then that would seem to indicate that they would have been ordered to violate existing tool control policies in the middle of a prison riot. This would make absolutely no logical sense. All of these tool control policies, ACA standards along with various government prison requirements serve a purpose. A breakdown in following these standards and requirements could very well of led to the death of the facilities young staff member and the assault of another.

Corrections Corporation of America put out a press release concerning the riot that read in part "Law enforcement officials are providing outside perimeter security as facility staff and management work to resolve the incident inside the facility." It would appear that part of this response was to send these two staff members up onto the roof to deploy chemical agents against rioting prisoners. A move that appears to of led to a brutal attack and unacceptable response from these prisoners in which they brutally attacked both staff members and very violently killed one of them. This blog finds it very troubling that CCA would have deployed these two correctional officers onto the roof by themselves.

With a huge number of employees taken hostage it's very possible that Corrections Corporation of America employees got emotionally invested in the situation and moved much faster than they should have. Corrections Corporation of America's press release and media reports seem to indicate that Corrections Corporation of America was attempting to deal with the situation inside it's fence on it's own. A situation that may have been beyond the scope of it's staff members training and abilities to handle. With what appears to be the majority of one entire shift at the prison taken hostage it's possible that CCA just did not have the physical manpower to deal with the situation. Perhaps they should have waited until better equipped and better trained outside law enforcement agencies had arrived to plan and carry out a response with the assistance of these outside agencies manpower and assets.

There is no excuse for what happened. There is no excuse for the brutal murder of this young correctional officer. There is also no excuse for what is starting to look like a very flawed response from Corrections Corporation of America's leadership at the Adams County Correctional Center to this riot.

This blog continues to call for the resignation of CCA's Adams County Correctional Facilities Warden Vance Laughlin.

All opinions and allegations expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own decision.