The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 23, 2013

State officials should staff prison properly


Commercial-News

DANVILLE — The recent assault and attempted rape on female correctional officer at the Danville Correctional Center was caused by management’s apparent violation of institutional directives.

I am a retired correctional lieutenant at Danville Correctional Center.

Upon hearing about the assault and attempted rape of a female correctional officer at the prison, my heart dropped. I felt her pain. I was assaulted at that same prison. An inmate hit me when I wasn’t looking. It is a pain that will never go away.

It is sad to see that some things never change. Wardens and officials at higher levels must change their ways of thinking. We are fortunate we are not attending a funeral.

Management continues to rob Peter to pay Paul. They would rather have fewer officers, and yet fatten their pensions. Danville Correctional Center is a high-medium facility. It is at risk for more assaults due to being over crowded. Management are not the ones getting assaulted. They have a convoy of staff when walking the gym, yard, and housing unit wings.

At the time of the assault, the officer was alone. Can you imagine the fear?

Inmates know there is a shortage of officers. During the assault, one officer was in control, one officer was at lunch and preparing to relieve a tower officer, the third officer was covering four wings with a maximum total of 448 inmates. She was at risk.

Tom Shaer stated in the (Champaign) News-Gazette that she was not alone. If she was not alone, why did another inmate come to her rescue? He also stated the level of staffing was in place. Not true. Mr. .Shaer would not know this because higher-ups may visit a facility once a year.

Mandatory assignments are one control officer and two wing officers. Policy does not allow management to go down to one wing officer for reliefs.

Policy also states inmates are not to enter housing units other their own. Management violated its own policy. They must be held accountable for this assault. They are the ones who allowed this inmate to be in an unauthorized housing unit. His housing unit is the gym.

Management should monitor the wings alone. Try walking in a correctional officer’s shoes for a while.

Wesley Brown is a resident of Danville.