Correctional Officers at Stillwater Prison Refusing to Work in Area Where Fellow Officer Was Killed

September 05, 2018 10:16 PM

Correctional officers at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater are refusing to work in the area of the prison where Officer Joseph Gomm was killed by an inmate two months ago.

A lockdown there was not lifted until last month. And Wednesday, the industry building where Gomm was attacked by an inmate was supposed to reopen.

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RELATED: Employee Describes Frantic Search for Gomm Following Calls for Help

But nearly two dozen staff members assigned to the area refused to work there, citing safety concerns.

According to the union representing those employees - the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - at least four are corrections officers.

The Department of Corrections said those employees were working in other areas of the prison Wednesday.

The DOC had planned to open the industry area up with 17 inmates folding and packaging mylar balloons. The prison said security has been enhanced and the physical layout of the industry area has been reconfigured.

RELATED: Family of Corrections Officer Killed in Assault Issues Statement

The union, though, said that's not the case. Which is why officers are refusing to go back in.

"This industry area is about one-acre long," said Tim Henderson, the Associate Director for AFSCME. "And there are a lot of blind spots. The officers want the cameras system upgraded to cover for the blind spots, and they want a partner when they go on the rounds so nobody is going solo." 

The union also wanted eight corrections officers assigned to the industry area Wednesday, not four. 

RELATED: DOC Confirms 3 Corrections Officers Have Resigned at 2 Prisons Since Deadly Attack by Inmate

And while there would have been 17 inmates working in the area Wednesday, the union said that number was expected to go back up to roughly 140 inmates by next week.

The Department of Corrections declined a request for a representative to speak on camera Wednesday.

Credits

Jessica Miles

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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