Warden Cites Poor Staffing in Inmate Abuse Report - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Warden Cites Poor Staffing in Inmate Abuse Report

Posted: Updated:
DEER LODGE -

The Montana State Prison Warden says he is implementing staff changes and adding new positions.

This, after learning his facility has one of the highest rates of inmate-on-inmate abuse and sexual misconduct by staff in the nation.

The high rates of sexual abuse were reported in a survey from the U.S. Department of Justice administered to 191 anonymous inmates at the prison in 2011.

"The inmates were totally anonymous. We can't respond to these allegations because we don't know who they were. We don't know if there is any validity to them. It's very difficult to definitively tell people, "Yes, this did happen" and "No, this did not happen," said Warden Leroy Kirkegard.

It's a survey administered every two years as part of the "Prison Rape Elimination Act" of 2003-- also known as PREA.

The report found 9% of MSP inmates said they had been sexually victimized by other inmates and almost 10% reported sexual misconduct by staff.

"During the time frame of the survey, we had several complaints against staff for clothed body searches. Inmates were complaining about that. We believe that's where the high number came from for the staff misconduct. It was centered around pat down searches," Kirkegard said.

The survey data was collected six months prior to Warden Leroy Kirkegard taking over the position.

Since his arrival, the warden has added multiple jobs including a state PREA coordinator and a prison PREA specialist.

"That person is now responsible for not only all of the MSP policies, but he is going to be focusing on the PREA incidents, keeping track of the PREA statistics, the number of substantiated claims, unsubstantiated claims, and unfounded claims."

The warden says other factors play into survey as well,  including a lack of staff.

There are currently 53 vacant detention officer positions at the facility, a year ago the number was at 35.

"We can't compete with other state agencies. We can't compete with local agencies with a starting wage of $12.57."

Kirkegard has lobbied the state for an increase in wages in an attempt to recruit and retain correctional officers, but that request was denied in the last budget.

Warden Kirkegard and Department of Corrections Director Mike Batista each gave their testimony in front of a DOJ review panel Wednesday through a video conference.

The next survey is expected to be conducted in 2015.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Parents had hoped to negotiate with Foley captors

    Parents had hoped to negotiate with Foley captors

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-08-22 13:15:16 GMT
    The parents of slain journalist James Foley said they regarded an email they received from his captors last week as a hopeful sign they could negotiate with the Islamic militants.
    The parents of slain journalist James Foley said they regarded an email they received from his captors last week as a hopeful sign they could negotiate with the Islamic militants.
  • Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

    Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:34 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:34:30 GMT
    A charity stunt that has grown into a social media phenomenon went terribly wrong for four Kentucky firefighters when a fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line after they dumped water on college...
    A charity stunt that has grown into a social media phenomenon went terribly wrong for four Kentucky firefighters when a fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line after they dumped water on college students who...
  • National Guard to withdraw from a quieter Ferguson

    National Guard to withdraw from a quieter Ferguson

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:44 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:44:44 GMT
    The streets of Ferguson have been peaceful for another night, as protests and tensions have been subsiding in the St. Louis suburb where unrest had erupted for several nights after a white police officer fatally...
    The streets of Ferguson were peaceful for another night, as protests and tensions subsided in the St. Louis suburb where unrest erupted after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • Sourdough Debuts New Fire Station

    Sourdough Debuts New Fire Station

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:48:25 GMT
    Construction of the new 10,000 square foot Sourdough Fire Station is complete.
    Construction of the new 10,000 square foot Sourdough Fire Station is complete.
  • LOOK: Faces Of WA State's Missing People

    LOOK: Faces Of WA State's Missing People

    Thursday, February 27 2014 11:49 AM EST2014-02-27 16:49:33 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The missing persons listed in this slideshow resided in the state of Washington at the time of their disappearance or may have traveled to Washington State. These pictures came from Washington State Patrol's website. If you have any information about any of these missing people call 1-800-543-5678.
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The missing persons listed in this slideshow resided in the state of Washington at the time of their disappearance or may have traveled to Washington State. These pictures came from Washington State Patrol's website. If you have any information about any of these missing people call 1-800-543-5678.
  • One Dead In Crash North Of Whitefish

    One Dead In Crash North Of Whitefish

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:11:40 GMT
    Glacier National ParkGlacier National Park
    A 23-year-old woman is dead and two other people are in serious condition following a crash on Highway 93 north of Whitefish that snarled traffic for over two hours.
    A 23-year-old woman is dead and two other people are in serious condition following a crash on Highway 93 north of Whitefish that snarled traffic for over two hours.
  • Police, Father Search for Missing Missoula Man

    Police, Father Search for Missing Missoula Man

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:03 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:03:46 GMT
    Missoula police help family members search for Monte Swanson, 24, a missing Missoula man who is known to hang out at transient camps.
    Missoula police help family members search for Monte Swanson, 24, a missing Missoula man who is known to hang out at transient camps.
  • New Helmet Cam Compilation

    New Helmet Cam Compilation

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:47 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:47:24 GMT
    We introduce you to our new 'helmet cam" which is a Go Pro that we attach to the helmets of local football players including Big Sky's Cory Diaz, Sentinel's Mitch Reynolds and the Grizzlies John Nguyen.
    We introduce you to our new 'helmet cam" which is a Go Pro that we attach to the helmets of local football players including Big Sky's Cory Diaz, Sentinel's Mitch Reynolds and the Grizzlies John Nguyen.
  • Daines Leads Curtis In New Senate Poll

    Daines Leads Curtis In New Senate Poll

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:43 AM EDT2014-08-21 04:43:48 GMT
    A U.S. Senate poll was released on Wednesday after the Montana Democratic Party nominated State Representative Amanda Curtis to campaign in place of Senator John Walsh.
    A U.S. Senate poll was released on Wednesday after the Montana Democratic Party nominated State Representative Amanda Curtis to campaign in place of Senator John Walsh.
  • Suspect Charged with Homicide in Deputy's Death

    Suspect Charged with Homicide in Deputy's Death

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 00:42:23 GMT
    The man suspected of hitting and killing a Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Dunn is now charged with deliberate homicide in Dunn's death.
    The man suspected of hitting and killing a Cascade County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Dunn is now charged with deliberate homicide in Dunn's death.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.