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>>

  • Records: Man shot in court had vowed to behave

    Records: Man shot in court had vowed to behave

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:27 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:27:36 GMT
    A defendant who was fatally shot by a U.S. marshal while attacking a witness during a federal court trial had promised a judge earlier that he would behave, a court transcript shows.
    A defendant who was fatally shot by a U.S. marshal while attacking a witness during a federal court trial had promised a judge earlier that he would behave, a court transcript shows.
  • Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

    Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:27 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:27:34 GMT
    For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes themselves.
    Long flights can leave anyone a little unsteady, but a teenager who defied the odds, surviving a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well, was disoriented, thirsty and could barely walk after...
  • Tentative deal reached in TSA breast-milk lawsuit

    Tentative deal reached in TSA breast-milk lawsuit

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:27 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:27:31 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration.
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed said Wednesday she has reached a tentative settlement with the Transportation Security...
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Plummer-Worley School District Lockdown Has Been Lifted

    Plummer-Worley School District Lockdown Has Been Lifted

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:41:24 GMT
    PLUMMER, Idaho - A lockdown at the Plummer-Worley School District that was initially ordered on Wednesday as a precautionary measure by police has been lifted an employee at the Plummer-Worley School District.
    PLUMMER, Idaho - A lockdown at the Plummer-Worley School District that was initially ordered on Wednesday as a precautionary measure by police has been lifted an employee at the Plummer-Worley School District. The school superintendent said the lockdown was issued around 9am due to a phone call received stating a man was coming to the elementary and might have weapons.
  • MSU Cornerback Transfer Bryson Keeton

    MSU Cornerback Transfer Bryson Keeton

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 12:27 AM EDT2014-04-09 04:27:36 GMT
    Junior Cornerback Bryson Keeton transfered from Nevada to MSU in January. He's six two 195 pounds, and his last recorded 40 time was a 4.4. He says his hard nosed style of play comes naturally. "I've
    Junior Cornerback Bryson Keeton transferred from Nevada to MSU in January. He's six two 195 pounds, and his last recorded 40 time was a 4.4. He says his hard nosed style of play comes naturally.
  • President Obama Tours Mudslide Damage; Comforts Family

    President Obama Tours Mudslide Damage; Comforts Family

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:55 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:55:41 GMT
    KHQ - Stay tuned to KHQ.COM for the arrival of President Barack Obama in Everett, WA on Air Force 1 around 12:30pm Tuesday. President Obama plans to visit and survey the devastated community of Oso. Air Force 1 could arrive as early as 12:25 or as late as 12:50. >>>WATCH Right Here On Khq.com>>>
    KHQ.COM - The President has arrived in Washington State to visit and survey the devastated community of Oso. Air Force touched down in Everett shortly after 12:30 today. Obama will tour the area of Oso and visit with families who loved ones were killed in the devastating mudslide.
  • Murdoch's Four Corners Store Opening Thursday

    Murdoch's Four Corners Store Opening Thursday

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-22 04:04:20 GMT
    A popular farm and ranch store is opening a new location just outside Bozeman this week.
    A popular farm and ranch store is opening a new location just outside Bozeman this week.
  • Griz Baseball Surging to Make Playoffs

    Griz Baseball Surging to Make Playoffs

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:37 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:37:30 GMT
    The Griz baseball team is currently in second place in the North Division of the No-Pac Conference, it doesn't sound like a bad spot, unless your the squad expecting to be in first.
    The Griz baseball team is currently in second place in the North Division of the No-Pac Conference, it doesn't sound like a bad spot, unless your the squad expecting to be in first.
  • Glacier National Park

    Glacier National Park

    Glacier National Park is one of Montana's great treasures. Browse our gallery to see many of the sights Glacier has to offer!

    Photos by Damon Callisto
    Glacier National Park is one of Montana's great treasures. Browse our gallery to see many of the sights Glacier has to offer!

    Photos by Damon Callisto
  • Pacific Recycling Suffers Fire on Earth Day

    Pacific Recycling Suffers Fire on Earth Day

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:38 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:38:56 GMT
    The Pacific Recycling Center sustained damage after a fire broke out Tuesday evening. The Missoula Fire Department responded to the structure fire at 7:14 p.m. on Tuesday.
    The Pacific Recycling Center sustained damage after a fire broke out Tuesday evening. The Missoula Fire Department responded to the structure fire at 7:14 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • WATCH: Cell Phone Video Of Sinking Ferry Released As 270 Are Still Missing

    WATCH: Cell Phone Video Of Sinking Ferry Released As 270 Are Still Missing

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:21:35 GMT
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Searchers have now put markers on the surface of the water where the South Korean ferry went down. Part of the ship had remained above the surface until today, but now the entire vessel is submerged. They're continuing the effort to find some 270 people who are missing and feared dead.
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Searchers have now put markers on the surface of the water where the South Korean ferry went down. Part of the ship had remained above the surface until today, but now the entire vessel is submerged. They're continuing the effort to find some 270 people who are missing and feared dead.
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.