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.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOK: Photos Of 'Blood Moon' During Total Lunar Eclipse

    LOOK: Photos Of 'Blood Moon' During Total Lunar Eclipse

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:59:30 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It was a sight to behold! The blood moon lit up the heavens last night. If you slept thru it, no need to worry! We recorded the whole thing for you and many of our Facebook friends and viewers have shared the photos that they captured of the total lunar eclipse last night!
    KHQ.COM - It was a sight to behold! The blood moon lit up the heavens last night. If you slept thru it, no need to worry! We recorded the whole thing for you and many of our Facebook friends and viewers have shared the photos that they captured of the total lunar eclipse last night!
  • UPDATE: Deadly Shooting In Spokane Valley; Authorities Looking For Witnesses

    UPDATE: Deadly Shooting In Spokane Valley; Authorities Looking For Witnesses

    Wednesday, February 12 2014 11:40 PM EST2014-02-13 04:40:22 GMT
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - One man was shot and killed following a high speed pursuit that ended near the Spokane Valley Mall on Tuesday night. It started around 7:00 PM when Spokane Police received a call from a man who was in a car claiming to be unstable and threatening suicide by forcing police to shoot him. 
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - One man was shot and killed following a high speed pursuit that ended near the Spokane Valley Mall on Tuesday night. It started around 7:00 PM when Spokane Police received a call from a man who was in a car claiming to be unstable and threatening suicide by forcing police to shoot him. 
  • Former Griz Football Player Battles Cancer

    Former Griz Football Player Battles Cancer

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-08 23:00:04 GMT
    A former Griz football player prepares to take on different kind of physical challenge, after learning he has cancer. Former linebacker Cole Lockwood got his diagnosis just last week and is now recovering
    A former Griz football player prepares to take on different kind of physical challenge, after learning he has cancer.
  • Butte's Jewish Community Celebrates Passover

    Butte's Jewish Community Celebrates Passover

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:23 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:23:28 GMT
    For the second straight night, Jews across the world will sit down for a second Seder to continue the celebration of Passover. Passover is the celebration of the Jew's exodus from Egypt where they served
    For the second straight night, Jews across the world will sit down for a second Seder to continue the celebration of Passover.
  • Auctioned Bull Raises Money for Fellow Breeder

    Auctioned Bull Raises Money for Fellow Breeder

    Friday, April 11 2014 8:11 PM EDT2014-04-12 00:11:47 GMT
    Thousands of dollars were raised in a matter of seconds for a wounded rancher at the 5-L Red Angus Bull Auction in Sheridan Friday. A total of 300 bulls were sold in a matter of four hours, but one bull
    Thousands of dollars were raised in a matter of seconds for a wounded rancher at the 5-L Red Angus Bull Auction in Sheridan Friday.
  • The Beast on the MSU Defensive Line: Taylor Sheridan

    The Beast on the MSU Defensive Line: Taylor Sheridan

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:14 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:14:50 GMT
    Media and coaches have described defensive tackle Taylor Sheridan as physically imposing. The junior only knows how to play one way. "Aggressive. The past few years have been trying to get used to the
    Media and coaches have described defensive tackle Taylor Sheridan as physically imposing. The junior only knows how to play one way.
  • Bridger Bowl Closes For The Season

    Bridger Bowl Closes For The Season

    Monday, April 14 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-15 00:08:27 GMT
    Ski season officially comes to an end for skiers at Bridger Bowl on Monday. Russel Ashby moved to Bozeman last year form Australia. This year was his first full season, skiing at Bridger Bowl."I really
    Ski season officially comes to an end for skiers at Bridger Bowl on Monday.
  • Local Food System Gets Dating Service

    Local Food System Gets Dating Service

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:26:50 GMT
    A non-profit plays match maker between local growers and chefs. The farmer and chef speed dating was put on by the Western Sustainability Exchange, a non-profit that works to conserve land in the west.
    A non-profit plays match maker between local growers and chefs.
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.