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Forbes Juvenile Attention Facility
Topeka, Kansas
Clarence Kelley Juvenile Justice Resources

October 18, 2009 Topeka Capital-Journal
Insufficient staff numbers and inadequate room checks by a Topeka juvenile residential center opened the door for a 12-year-old boy to be repeatedly raped by his roommate over three days in January 2008, a civil lawsuit claims. "The rape, sodomy, sexual assault and sexual battery could not have happened if the boys or men were properly supervised," reads the suit. The suit, filed last year in Shawnee County District Court against the owners of Forbes Juvenile Attention Facility, isn't the only place to find concerns about the welfare of residents of the facility. Other issues related to the treatment of residents have been raised in inspection reports, internal memos and the words of former FJAC workers. Allegations of racial discrimination and questions about how FJAC administrators notify authorities of alleged abuse also have been raised. The problems, former staffers say, allowed sexual misconduct to go unnoticed. "The last couple months before I left, it was chaos," said Clarence Tyson, a shift supervisor who resigned in late 2008 after seven years at FJAC. The allegations are just that -- allegations, the FJAC administration said. Terry Campbell, executive vice president for Clarence M. Kelley Juvenile Justice Resources, which owns FJAC, said a handful of unhappy workers have already made similar claims to other governmental agencies. "I'm sure SRS has received them, KDHE has received them, JJA has received them, the governor has probably received them," Campbell said. "It's because we've got disgruntled staff, former employees. They're not the majority of the professional staff that we have." Campbell said there have been only six reports of sexual misconduct at FJAC since 2007, and only two were sexual assaults. FJAC, located at Forbes Field at 6700 S.W. Topeka Blvd., is a privately run youth residential center, a nonsecure group home for male juvenile offenders that houses up to 56 youths ages 12 to 17. The offenders sent to FJAC aren't the most dangerous in the juvenile system, thus one reason why it isn't a locked facility. Since a new administration took over at FJAC in late 2007, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has investigated 20 complaints there. That is more than any of the 29 similar facilities contracting with the state except for one -- Camelot Lakeside in Goddard, which has had 26 such complaints. Many of the complaints against FJAC allege insufficient staffing led to the incidents. And at least six workers -- five former and one current -- have filed state or federal discrimination suits in 2009. In addition to alleging black workers were treated differently, some of the suits say employees feared retaliation for reporting alleged abuse to authorities as required by regulations and law. Campbell points out most allegations by the former employees and allegations investigated by KDHE couldn't be substantiated. Ward Loyd, chairman of the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, said he hadn't heard of the allegations but said "where's there's smoke, there's usually fire." "It's certainly unfortunate to hear that we've got these types of allegations with any Kansas facility," he said. "The whole issue with having them placed in these kinds of facilities is to provide for their needs, not to complicate them." Civil suit -The 12-year-old plaintiff in the current civil suit against FJAC was referred to the facility in late 2007 or early 2008 by case manager Kenyetta Byrd. Soon after, an FJAC worker contacted Byrd concerned about the boy's small size. According to a February 2008 report by the Juvenile Justice Authority's inspector general on the incident, the caller told Byrd the boy would be "eaten alive." "They didn't even have clothes small enough to fit him," said Toni Wash, a drug and alcohol counselor who worked at FJAC from late 2007 to late 2008. "Everyone was asking why he was there." Campbell said he wouldn't comment on any incident under litigation. In addition to the civil case against Kelley Juvenile Detention Services, the roommate suspected of raping the 12-year-old is facing criminal sodomy charges in juvenile court. Immediately after Byrd got the alarming call from the FJAC worker, another case coordinator called and told her to disregard the previous caller. The boy was then placed at FJAC. The alleged rape and sodomy occurred from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, 2008, and as soon as FJAC learned about it, officials there contacted authorities. The lawsuit claims FJAC workers didn't conduct room checks every 15 minutes as their policy mandated. The inspector general's report says room-check logs contained blanket statements about the whole floor without specific mention of individual room checks. In an e-mail to Campbell on Feb. 14, 2008, Kelley administrator Scott Henricks conceded some fault. "The cause of the alleged incident can partially be attributed to staff error," he wrote. In its court response, however, FJAC flatly denied the allegations of improper staff work. JJA commissioner Russ Jennings said:, "Is there a concern that staff aren't checking rooms regularly? Yes, there certainly is." Mona Brown, a floor staffer for more than a year until she was fired in January, said she wasn't surprised something happened. "The staff ratio just wasn't there," she said. "That is the thing that sets it up for things to happen."

Hutchinson Correctional Facility
Hutchinson, Kansas
Oct 21, 2017 thestar.com
Private Kansas prison did nothing as fungus destroyed inmate’s brain, lawsuit alleges
KANSAS CITY, MO.—A Kansas prison inmate died in April after a brain fungus gave him a form of meningitis that left him weak and so disoriented that he drank his own urine while prison health care staff ignored his pleas for help, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of his mother and daughter. Marques Davis complained for months about symptoms at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility, his attorney, Leland Dempsey, said in the lawsuit filed this week in federal court, The Kansas City Star reported. “It feels like something is eating my brain,” Davis told Corizon Health employees who staffed the prison infirmary in December 2016, according to the lawsuit. It names as defendants Corizon, a private prison health care company contracted to provide health care at the state’s prisons, as well as 14 Corizon employees, three doctors and 11 nurses. “No amount of money in the world could ever replace my child, but somebody needs to be held accountable and this (needs to not) happen to anybody else,” said Davis’ mother, Shermaine Walker, of Wichita. Corizon spokesperson Martha Harbin said privacy laws prohibit the company from discussing details of Davis’ care but “we expect any legal proceedings to reveal Mr. Davis’ care was appropriate.” At the time of his death, Davis had spent eight years in prison for several crimes, including attempted murder, his mother said. The lawsuit alleges that Corizon didn’t help Davis until April 12, when he was taken to Hutchinson Regional Medical Center after he suffered a heart attack. He was declared brain dead and taken off life support the next day. An autopsy found the cause of death was advanced granulomatous meningoencephalitis, a form of meningitis that Dempsey said was caused by the Candida Albicans fungus. Walker said she visited her son regularly at prison and tried unsuccessfully several times to get Corizon to help him. “This was an everyday thing for me, calling over there telling them about things he’s complaining to me about but also the things I’m seeing,” Walker said. “He’s losing weight tremendously, he’s sweating, his skin colour is changing.” The lawsuit alleges that Corizon staff reported several times they thought Davis was faking his illness. A Kansas Department of Corrections website lists more than 40 disciplinary infractions for Davis while he was in prison, most of them before he got sick. An infirmary report from the week before Davis’ death faults him for refusing food and failing to get out of bed to use the toilet. Instead, he urinated in his water pitcher, which he then drank out of “time and again.”

December 9, 2006 Hutchinson News
A former Aramark Services employee who worked inside the Hutchinson Correctional Facility was sentenced to one year, three months in prison Friday for trying to bring methamphetamine inside the prison. Joseph L. Delancy of South Hutchinson pleaded guilty to trafficking in contraband in a correctional facility, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell and unlawfully arranging a drug sale by a commercial device. He faced up to four years, 11 months in prison. Delancy's attorney, Kerry Granger, asked for a lesser sentence and cited his client's drug use starting as "a misguided attempt to deal with the death of his son."

June 24, 2006 Hutchinson News
Drug detectives arrested a South Hutchinson man employed in the Hutchinson Correctional Facility dining hall for allegedly purchasing drugs he planned to sell to prison inmates. Joseph Lamont Delancy, 33, worked for Aramark Services, which provides food service for part of the prison. According to police reports, Delancy made phone contact with a drug enforcement detective about buying an ounce of "Ice" methamphetamine. The detective set up the drop, and Delancy allegedly arrived and accepted the drugs from the detective. The report indicates Delancy said he planned to sell the drugs in the correctional institute and attempted to set up another buy with the detective. Delancy is being held on $25,000 bond on suspicion for possession of meth with the intent to sell, a drug tax stamp violation and unlawfully arranging a sale by a commercial service.

Johnson County Jail
Johnson County, Kansas

June 6, 2007 KC Community News
Legal hurdles and Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning's opposition surfaced in a Johnson County Commission discussion May 31 of private jails. Denning said he opposed private jails on principle. “I am opposed to any private organization imprisoning people,” Denning said. “I believe the best institutions are ones with government oversight and government transparency.” Denning also said a state statute prohibits him from using private jails for state inmates. The statute would have to be amended to allow him to house inmates in a private jail, he said. Commissioner John Segale disputed the sheriff's opinion. County Chief Counsel Don Jarrett said the county could contract with a private jail. “The county has the authority to contract or use jail space in public and private facilities,” Jarrett said. “The sheriff does not have to agree to the contract. The sheriff is in charge of designating where prisoners go. So you can buy space, but if the sheriff doesn't choose to put people in that space, you're going to have empty spaces.” The discussion followed a pitch by Corrections Corp. of America, Nashville, Tenn., one of the country's biggest private jailers, for county business. The county paid about $6 million in 2006 to farm out more than 300 inmates daily to county jails as far away as Ottawa. The Gardner jail's 416-bed expansion is expected to be full upon opening in late 2009. Commissioner Ed Peterson said he invited CCA so commissioners could learn what a private jail offered. Ray Hodge, CCA senior director of business development, told commissioners of plans to expand the company's maximum security 802-bed Leavenworth Detention Center by another 320 beds. CCA anticipates more beds would be required in the next few years and plans to build another jail in Leavenworth County, Hodge said. If CCA secured sufficient contracts from customers, including Johnson County, the company would expedite construction of the jail. Federal, state and county governments have contracts with CCA's 64 accredited jails, Hodge said. The company has a 52 percent share of the national private jail market, he said. Contract renewal rates are 95 percent. Hodge listed benefits for the county from using CCA: capital meant for jail construction could be freed up for other needs; first rights to beds; inmate consolidation in one nearby jail, making access easier for families; transportation cost savings; and insulation from lawsuits. Hodge said costs would depend on services. The U.S. Marshals Service, which uses the Leavenworth jail, pays CCA $81 per day per inmate. That fee includes services the county would not require, Hodge said, bringing costs closer to $50 per inmate per day. Denning said he expects research on his business plan, which he intends to submit to commissioners in six months, will show that he can run a jail cheaper than private jail companies. Frank Smith, of nonprofit research company Private Corrections Institute, said private jails keep costs down by paying employees low wages and benefits and providing little training. Smith, who drove more than 200 miles to speak to commissioners, said problems plague the private jail industry, including low professionalism, high employee turnover and the practice of mixing inmates from different states, leading to tension and riots in several jails. Smith said his information came from publicly available reports, visits to private jails and “a vast network” of whistleblowers. Most commissioners favored studying private jails as an alternative to building more jails. “An individual may have different feelings about the question of public or private (jail) facilities … but all of us need to keep in mind the bottom line, which is the taxpayer's pocket,” Commissioner Ed Eilert said. “Our objective should be to provide the most efficient, appropriate incarceration services at the most effective price. If that involves … changing an attitude, we need to do that,” Eilert said. “If this is in fact an economical way of providing equal services and coverage for our inmates, we owe it to our taxpayers to take a hard look,” Peterson said. “I think they make a persuasive case as to how a private entity can operate a prison for less than government can and be just as accountable,” Segale said. Chairwoman Annabeth Surbaugh said the county should wait for the sheriff's plan before considering private jails.

May 30, 2007 Kansas City Star
Searching for a way to ease jail crowding and save money, Johnson County commissioners are considering striking a deal with a private, for-profit corrections facility in Leavenworth. Officials with Corrections Corp. of America, one of the nation’s largest private penal firms, will meet with commissioners today to consider how the two could work together to meet the county’s growing need for jail space. Sheriff Frank Denning says the problem has been ignored for nearly a decade, but opposes the idea of private jails. In 2005, a consultant’s report showed that a proposed 416-bed jail expansion would be full immediately if it opened in 2009 and an additional 752 beds were recommended to be opened a year later, said Joe Waters, the county’s director of facilities. “Somewhere this is going to overtake us where we’re doing nothing more than running jails,” Commissioner Doug Wood of Olathe said. “We’ve got to get a handle on this.” Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corp. wants to expand its operation on the western bluff of the Missouri River to build more beds for federal prisoners. That would open space at the 802-bed Leavenworth Detention Center, a maximum-security facility that the firm wants to expand to 1,122 beds for offenders from across the region and beyond. For Johnson County, that could forestall the costly construction and operating expenses of new county jails. Supporters say it also could free up county money for such other needs as a juvenile detention center, courthouse or even the research triangle proposed by area universities. Supporters of for-profit jails say the private sector can do the job more efficiently and save taxpayers up to half the cost of inmate boarding. Critics contend bottom-line law enforcement is a risk to public safety that is not worth taking. It is an idea that has been kicked around for decades in Johnson County with four sheriffs and has gone nowhere. “We’re not here to grow the sheriff’s office, but I’m trying to blow this myth that somebody else can do this a whole lot cheaper than we can,” Denning recently told commissioners. Denning said the county’s two detention centers were safe, secure and cost-effective. The last escape was 24 years ago, and the last inmate killed in custody was 29 years ago. Most county commissioners, however, were unconvinced that the sheriff had explored all his options to building more jails or backed up his plan with hard numbers. “I don’t think the public is willing to pay the price,” Commissioner Ed Peterson said. “We’ve got to find some other options.” Private jails are not the answer, Denning said. “There aren’t very many success stories out there,” he told commissioners. “And there should not be any profit in people.” Denning said that some private jails have staffing ratios of one jailer for every 35 inmates. In Johnson County, the ratio is closer to one deputy for every six inmates. “We know what we’re doing,” Denning said. Ken Kopczynski of Private Corrections Institute Inc., a nonprofit group that opposes private prisons, said for-profit firms are notoriously understaffed and have turnover rates as high as 50 percent. Deputies in Johnson County have a 6 percent turnover rate. “You get what you pay for,” Kopczynski said. Sheriff’s spokesman Tom Erickson was more blunt. For-profit jailers are salesmen, he said. “They’re going to tell you whatever … you want to hear to get you to purchase their product, which is bed space. “They can promise you everything in the world … but we have enough documentation to prove that they are a really bad idea.” Not so fast, said Ray Hodge, Corrections Corp.’s senior director of business development. “What we’re offering is a chance for the county to consolidate its farmed-out prisoners in an accredited facility … at a fairly reasonable price, certainly far cheaper than the county can do it,” Hodge said.

Kansas Department of Corrections
Jan 5, 2018 ljworld.com
State Finance Council delays decision on Lansing prison project; questions over private contractor persist
TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback and top legislative leaders agreed Thursday to delay for two weeks a decision on whether to approve a 20-year, $300 million contract to build a new prison facility at Lansing.
In a meeting of the State Finance Council, which is made up of the governor and top leaders from both chambers, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, made a motion to table the decision until Jan. 18, citing concerns that key details of the proposed contract still have not been finalized. “I don’t want to have to ask forgiveness for this,” Denning said, noting other major contracts that the Legislature has had to fix, including the once-proposed demolition of the Docking State Office Building. “If I make a bad decision, then I want to own it. But I don’t want to make a decision today until both sides have agreed to the lease buy-back agreement, and I’ve had a chance to look at it.” Denning was referring to a provision in the contract detailing the terms under which the private prison company selected for the project, CoreCivic, would transfer ownership of the facility back to the state of Kansas at the end of the lease. The Department of Corrections is proposing to contract with a private prison company, CoreCivic, to build the prison and lease it back to the state after 20 years. The state would still be responsible for staffing and operating the prison, but CoreCivic would be responsible for all maintenance and repairs during the term of the lease. The plan calls for demolishing the medium security unit at the prison, which was built in the 1980s, and building a new facility that would house both medium and maximum security prisoners, who are now housed in the original prison building that dates back to the Civil War era. Other members of the committee expressed concerns about the Department of Corrections’ plans to reduce staffing, including mental health counselors, once the new, more modern facility is built. Department of Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood said the project would save the state about $23 million over the term of the lease, most of which would come from personnel costs. He said it currently takes 682 full-time equivalent employees to staff the prison. He said that could be cut to 371 with a new facility. That’s because the original 1860s-era building, which houses the maximum security unit, was designed inefficiently by modern standards and thus requires more correctional officers because they don’t have clear lines of sight to monitor an entire cell block, Corrections officials have said. Norwood said with a new, combined facility, his agency could consolidate things like food service and medical care into a single unit instead of having separate units at each of the two main buildings. But Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Wichita, who chairs the Senate budget committee, said she was concerned about cutbacks in other areas, including mental health staff, which would be reduced from 53 to 35 positions. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said he was concerned that CoreCivic has been the target of numerous lawsuits in the past, some having to do with inadequate staffing at the private prisons the company runs, as well as a Department of Justice probe into the company’s staffing system. Norwood said that under the proposed contract, staffing would still be in the hands of the agency, and the Legislature, which approves the agency’s budget. He added that the staffing plan is based on National Institute of Corrections standards and that it had been reviewed by independent corrections experts from Indiana. “But it’s a similar model, that is that we’re going to be using technology rather than people, and there were concerns expressed by the Department of Justice about that model,” Ward said. In the budget bill that lawmakers passed last year, a provision was inserted giving the Department of Corrections authority to enter into a lease-purchase contract for a new facility at Lansing, as long as it was reviewed by the Joint Committee on State Building Construction and approved by the State Finance Council. But the plan has been controversial since its inception. A Legislative Post Audit review last year concluded that the facility could be built at a lower cost by issuing bonds instead of a lease-purchase agreement. The Department of Corrections, however, rejected that idea, saying CoreCivic was able to secure private financing at interest rates competitive with the going rate for state bonds. In an earlier meeting of the joint building committee, some members suggested the agency should consider other communities for the prison, and open up the site selection process to competitive proposals from different communities, a process the agency has used in the past when building new prisons. Also at that meeting in November, the committee voted to recommend that the agency start over by soliciting new proposals with a wider array of financing options. Norwood, however, said the agency chose not to follow that recommendation because the joint committee is only set up as an advisory panel. Brownback said at the end of the meeting that the Finance Council will meet once more in about a week to receive answers to questions that lawmakers still have. Then it will meet again Jan. 18 for an up or down vote on the project.

Aug 1, 2017 cjonline.com
State audit contradicts Dept. of Corrections on cost of Lansing lease-purchase plan
A legislative audit released Monday claims that the Kansas Department of Corrections missed “key variables” and relied on “inconsistent assumptions” that tended to favor a more expensive method of replacing the state’s largest and oldest prison. According to the audit, the Department of Corrections underestimated the cost of rebuilding Lansing Correctional Facility through a lease-purchase agreement, a contract that allows a private company to build the prison and then lease it back to the state until the state purchases it. That option would likely be scrapped because of the results of the audit, said J.R. Claeys, a Salina Republican and chair of the transportation and public safety budget committee. The audit says a preliminary estimate from KDOC placed the project cost at $140 million over 20 years. The total cost predicted by KDOC was $155 million, but the audit report contends that it would cost $206 million. Auditors found that the best option would be for the state to issue bonds to build the prison and contract with a company for its maintenance. “These results differ from KDOC’s preliminary estimates, which were missing key variables and used inconsistent assumptions that tended to favor a lease-purchase option,” the audit says. KDOC is now in the process of receiving bids to build the prison in response to a request for proposals that it issued in April, according to the audit. Bids are due Friday. KDOC Secretary Joe Norwood said in a letter in response to the audit that the department would accept auditors’ help picking a bidder to contract with. The audit says the department failed to include in its cost estimates the final price it would pay to buy back the prison at the end of the lease, did not adjust prices over time, presented different construction costs based on the ownership arrangement and left out what auditors found to be the least expensive option. It said the least expensive option — building the prison with bond money and contracting its maintenance — would cost $178 million over 20 years. KDOC did not dispute any of the findings of the audit, according to a summary of the report. Rep. John Barker, an Abilene Republican and chair of the Legislative Post Audit committee, said he thought the Department of Corrections was receptive to the findings and that auditors found costs KDOC overlooked. Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, said he thought the department or administration had been leaning toward a lease-purchase option. In an email, KDOC spokesman Todd Fertig said the agency was “open to whichever funding option is best for the state.” He said the real cost of the project would not be known until the state gets bids from builders.
According to the audit, KDOC has claimed the project would not have a significant impact on the state’s budget. The audit says the state could find savings by combining maximum and medium security prisoners into one building and reducing staff. Savings could also be realized with a more energy-efficient building than the ones now at Lansing, including one built in the 1860s. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said he was concerned reduced staffing would lead to more disciplinary problems, like recent outbreaks at El Dorado Correctional Facility. “That concerns me because we’ve seen what’s happened in El Dorado, where they’re understaffed, they’ve had to work double shifts and we’ve had some real security problems down there among the inmates,” Hensley said. Claeys, however, said Lansing already requires a higher level of staffing because of its age. A modern building, he said, would require staffing similar to that at El Dorado, which is currently understaffed. Rebuilding Lansing, Claeys said, would help prevent uprisings at overcrowded prisons like El Dorado Correctional Facility, which has seen several incidents in recent weeks. He said the prison’s population has been rising without any new space given to inmates, and it faces severe staffing shortages. “I think having Lansing rebuilt certainly alleviates some of the pressure on El Dorado,” Claeys said. Claeys said he had a proposal for the coming legislative session to raise wages for correctional officers to help fill staffing shortages. “We’re going to do something, and it should be a priority,” Barker said. Claeys said the Legislature would go with a plan “that’s the least expensive for taxpayers and gets us the result of a modern, efficient prison facility at Lansing.” He said a provision included in the budget lawmakers passed in June would ensure that a plan for the prison gets approval from the Legislature.

Jan 8, 2015  Aly Van Dyke

Dirty kitchen conditions and violations repeated for several months are among some of the more consistent findings in food safety inspections for Kansas prisons. Although the corrections department adheres to Kansas Department of Agriculture food safety guidelines, like restaurants, it doesn’t rely on KDA staff to do the inspections. Instead, both monthly and sporadic audits are conducted by Kansas Department of Corrections employees, some of whom work in the facilities they inspect. “I hear what you’re saying in terms of looking like it’s all under one DOC umbrella,” said Jeremy Barclay, spokesman for the KDOC. “But we interact with so many different state agencies and branches of government and different divisions within the agency, that it’s pretty secure.” The inspections cover the 19 months between January 2013 and July 2014. They include seven of the state’s 10 prisons and total 19 facilities, such as satellite units. The KDOC filled the request free of charge, because another entity already had requested the inspections. Inspections weren’t provided for the Topeka, Lansing and Larned juvenile correctional facilities because they weren’t in the original request. The nearly 340 inspections show noncompliance and deficiencies month after month at several facilities. The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka, for example, repeated several mistakes for at least 10 months, including not taking proper temperature logs; not enforcing handwashing and glove use; not having employees and staff restrain hair properly; not keeping accurate chemical logs; and not having inmate staff up to date on food safety training. “Three persons seen licking fingers and continuing to work,” reads a May 2013 inspection of the KJCC. “Gloves worn to handle bread and meat patties used to touch face and pick item up off floor and touch door handles,” according to an April 2014 inspection of the facility. Handwashing issues were noted in 11 of the facility’s 19 inspections. But the KJCC isn’t alone in its repetitive errors. In the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, inspectors reported issues with bugs in the lights for 11 months. At the Winfield Correctional Facility, a knife was used to keep a dishwasher’s fill switch in position the full 19 months. At the El Dorado Correctional Facility, waste containers went without covers for eight months, a soap dispenser remained out of service for 11 months, fans went without cleaning for seven months and water leaked from fountain fixtures on the west wall for four months. The term “filthy” shows up in 11 inspections, “dirty” in 54 and “bugs” in 46 — though the vast majority of those instances refer to insects filling light fixtures. The data include 338 inspections. “Hygiene issues are always something we have to work with,” Barclay said. “We’re housing a host of individuals that cleaning hasn’t always been a priority in their life. We’re re-teaching from the ground up.” The departme nt can take administrative action — like fines and reconsidering the contract — if the food service provider isn’t meeting the terms of the contract, he said. However, he added Aramark, the food service contractor for most of the prisons, has demonstrated it will take whatever administrative steps required to ensure that isn’t necessary. The KDOC serves about 10,000 inmates three times each day, yet have relatively few violations when it comes to proper temperatures or insects — violations that often plague restaurants that don’t serve nearly that amount of meals in a day. Barclay said he thinks that has to do with the nature of the prison food system. It, unlike restaurants, is a 24/7 process. Just when one crew is wrapping up lunch, the next one comes in to start dinner. “You always have somebody on site,” he said. “It’s a continual go-go-go process.” Also, he said, prisons for the most part deal with processed foods, so the chances of undercooking something rarely comes up. “The food is so processed, there's not really a food safety risk,” he said. Unlike the KDA, the prison system doesn’t distinguish between critical and noncritical food safety violations, and its record keeping is radically different. Each prison appears to have its own inspection format, making comparisons difficult. Also, it wasn’t always clear when something was a deficiency or merely a suggested improvement. As most of the inspections were entered manually into The Topeka Capital-Journal’s online database, some numbers of violations might be different than anticipated. The inspection schedule differs, as well. While restaurants are inspected annually, unless follow-up visits are required, each correctional facility has a monthly inspection conducted by the safety officer employed at the facility. Every so often, a food service contract manager from central administration will perform an audit — usually announced beforehand — on the prison kitchens. The visits, Barclay said, are to make sure the contract is “followed to a T.” Although both inspectors are employees of the KDOC, he said, the food service contract manager falls on an entirely different line item in its budget — creating some degree of separation. Also, Barclay said, the employees are inspecting the work done by a contractor, not other KDOC employees. Finally, he said, the KDOC has to make annual reports to the Kansas Legislature, and the department of administration actually awards the food service contracts, creating further checks and balances on the prison food system. Violations oftentimes differed from the monthly on-site inspections and the audits from the central office. The 22 audits included in the request averaged between eight and nine violations, while the 316 monthly inspections, conducted by each facility’s safety compliance officer, averaged between three and four. The Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility, for example, showed everything was satisfactory on its monthly reports, but had up to 13 deficiencies on its three audits. Lack of training for inmate workers was documented on all three audits, which were conducted in June and December 2013 and in June 2014. Aramark holds the food service contracts in all the prisons, save the KJCC, which switched last October to Trinity Services Group after the service went out for bid. It was awarded a nearly $400,000 contract to work from October 2013 through June 2014. In each prison, Aramark pays for a manager, an assistant manager and food service supervisors. Under them, are the inmates, Barclay said. Inmate workers are supposed to be trained and supervised, but 20 inspections show those areas lacking for several months — half of which came from the KJCC. Aly Van Dyke can be reached at (785) 295-1270 or aly.vandyke@cjonline.com.

November 27, 2001
Citing a temporary shortage of prison beds, the Kansas Department of Corrections said Tuesday that it will send 100 inmates to a privately run institution in Colorado where they will remain until spring.  The agreement with Corrections Corp. of America marks the first time that Kansas has sought facilities in other states to house some of its prisoners.  Federal money can be used to pay 90 percent of the contract costs with the private firm.  That money cannot be used to pay for space in public facilities such as county jails.  (The Kansas City Star)

Kansas Legislature
September 12, 2006 Kansas City Star
If Phill Kline had legitimate credentials, he wouldn’t need to pad his résumé. He alleges he “worked to get ‘Jessica’s Law’ passed this year, increasing sentences for four types of sex crimes against children” (9/7, Local, “Kline cites record on water rights, sex predators”). Jessica’s Law was a terrible bill, but one that only our bravest state senators had the guts to oppose. Whether Kline was for, against or indifferent to it would not have made one whit of difference. Legislators were stampeded into voting for it, as they would be for mom, apple pie and the American flag. The bill will raise our state prison population by 1,000 prisoners, which will cost well over the average of $22,000 for each in today’s correctional dollars. That’s 22 million bucks a year, for typical prisoners, not high-cost, geriatric sex offenders, plus another $50 million for bed space to house them. The bill was bundled by Sen. Derek Schmidt, champion of the for-profit prison GEO Group, in his effort to actually import rapists, pedophiles and murderers to Kansas. Not much to take credit for, is it, even if it were deserved? Frank Smith, Bluff City, Kan.

May 8, 2006 AP
Legislation imposing tougher penalties on child molesters and other sex offenders went Monday night to the governor's desk. Passage of the bill, dubbed "Jessica's Law," was part of a deal worked out by House and Senate negotiators last week, after the House rejected a compromise bill bundling the popular sex offender measure with legislation the Senate wanted to allow private prisons in Kansas. The Senate voted 36-2 for the sex offender bill with no debate, and the House followed with a vote of 122-0, after which members applauded. Sending Jessica's Law to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius hinged on a deal negotiators worked out Friday. It called for a House vote on prisons, followed by the Senate passing Jessica's Law. The House voted 74-48 against the bill allowing the Department of Corrections to license and regulate such facilities in counties where voters approve the idea. It also included $20.5 million in bonding authority to expand state prisons. "I feel like this is a positive victory in that we got Jessica's Law separate from an unpopular bill," said Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson. Pauls later thanked colleagues who "hung in there" until Jessica's Law was separated from private prisons. "A lot of people were terrified that we might not get this bill passed," she said, referring to Jessica's Law. Some House members didn't like the idea of obligating the state to paying off bonds. "We could pay cash for this and save ourselves a substantial amount of interest," said Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro. "I don't support additional debt for our state." Kansas law prohibits housing state prisoners in private facilities in the state, but they can be housed in private facilities in other states. Senators had argued for bundling the bills, because increased penalties for sex offenders would generate the need for an additional 1,000 prison beds by 2016. House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, said the message was clear. "A lot of people feel strongly that the management and ownership of prisons is a government function," he said.

May 5, 2006 AP
Efforts to force a single vote on tougher penalties for child molesters and other sex offenders and allowing private prisons failed, and lawmakers now will vote each issue separately, under an agreement worked out Friday night by House and Senate negotiators. "It's agreed to," said House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka. "I'm happy the Senate decided to do it that way." Mays said both bills will come up for a vote Monday, when lawmakers return with an eye toward wrapping up the session. On Wednesday, the House strongly rejected a compromise bill bundling the popular sex offender measure dubbed "Jessica's Law" with legislation the Senate wanted to allow private prisons in Kansas.

May 3, 2006 AP
Opposition to private prisons in the House today doomed a compromise version of a politically popular bill to strengthen penalties for sex offenders, especially those who prey on children. The tougher penalties, known as "Jessica's Law,” were tied by House and Senate negotiators to a proposal to permit private prisons in Kansas to hold the state's inmates. Senators previously approved a separate private prisons bill and insisted the two issues be bundled, while the House hadn't debated the subject. The House voted 74-49 to reject the bundle, forcing both chambers to resume negotiations if lawmakers are to send tougher penalties for sex offenders this year to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. The Senate had approved it Tuesday, 33-7. Rep. Kenny Wilk, who led the effort to send the bill back to negotiators, said senators were trying to overcome opposition to private prisons by linking their fate to perhaps the session's most popular proposal. "They're trying to force-feed us,” said Wilk, R-Lansing. "The House wants a clean vote on Jessica's Law.” The tougher sanctions are patterned after a Florida law, also named "Jessica's Law,” for a 9-year-old girl in that state killed last year by a convicted sex offender. Arkansas, Oregon and Virginia enacted their own versions this year. The bill calls for a minimum 25-year sentence for adults convicted of any of seven violent sex crimes against anyone under 14, including rape, aggravated sodomy and sexual exploitation. Trial judges could impose a lesser penalty in cases with "substantial and compelling” reasons.

May 2, 2006 AP
Getting tough on child molesters and other sex offenders has been a priority for legislators since the start of the session, and now they're in position to send a bill to the governor to do just that. But there could be a problem - another bill hitched to the sex offender legislation. A House-Senate conference committee bundled the crime bill with another allowing private prisons in the state to hold Kansas inmates. The Senate voted 33-7 Tuesday to send the bill to the House, which last year refused to debate private prisons. Because it's a House-Senate conference committee proposal, House members must either accept or reject both ideas. "We'll run it. There's no way to tell whether it will pass," said Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka. Some see it as a power play by senators. "It doesn't play well with me. It's not a game," said Rep. Shari Weber, R-Herington. "Children abused and exploited shouldn't be held hostage by the personal views of the leadership of the Senate chamber. The Senate debate focused on opposition to private prisons. "There are two policies in this bill. The right way is to separate them," said Sen. Jay Scott Emler, R-Lindsborg.

May 1, 2006 Lawrence Journal-World
For-profit prisons aren’t likely to pop up across the Kansas plains overnight if, as expected, the Legislature approves a law this week allowing the prisons to be built here. In fact, the law wouldn’t necessarily mean that private prisons would ever be used to house existing Kansas prisoners. But it would allow for the industry to set up shop and begin housing out-of-state prisoners in any Kansas county where voters approve the idea. In Frank Smith’s view, it’s a slippery slope. Smith, a critic of private prisons who lives in Bluff City, believes that Kansas is “buying a lemon” by opening the door to a business he claims is fundamentally flawed. “I don’t believe you can have an efficacious private prison because the profit motive rules everything,” he said. “I don’t think there are any legitimate protections in this bill. They can build anywhere they can convince the locals — the rubes and hicks — that it’s not such a bad thing.” Smith, a retired social worker, argues that private prisons are chronically understaffed and don’t pay enough to keep good employees. He said there’s no hard evidence that there are more disturbances inside private prisons, but that the mingling of out-of-state inmate populations — who often have unequal treatment because of differences in their states’ respective contracts — is an inherent problem. On July 20, 2004, inmates at the privately run Crowley County Correctional Facility near Pueblo, Colo., demanded to speak to a warden about grievances. One problem was that a group of recently imported inmates from Washington state were earning $60 a month for work assignments, compared with $18.60 for Colorado inmates. The inmates were denied an audience, and they grew hostile. The staff was inexperienced and had not had enough training for an emergency, according to a report by the Colorado Department of Corrections. So the staff evacuated. Inmates started fires, broke into the management offices, and broke water pipes, sinks and toilets, causing cells to flood with contaminated water. A pending lawsuit filed by inmates alleges that when a special-operations team came in with backup to reclaim the prison, guards brutalized inmates — forcing them to lie face-down in contaminated water and dragging people from their cells by their ankles. As the night went on, inmates were forced to urinate and defecate in their pants because they weren’t allowed to go to the restroom, the suit alleges.

April 29, 2006 Hutchinson News
Thanks to distortion of our legislative procedures, a bill clearly against the interests of public safety and protection of Kansas taxpayers may soon win passage. Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, has inserted special interest, for-profit prison language into a veto-proof sexual offender bill. For three years, Schmidt's bills were unable to win passage on their own merits. Were it not for the valiant efforts of Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson, and the misgivings about the process held by Rep. Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, this bill would likely have made it to the governor's desk. At a time when the attention of the public has been focused on deal-making in Washington , D.C., by exposure of scandals such as the crimes of Jack Abramoff and ex-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, as well as the budget earmarks that led to the $230 million "Bridge to Nowhere," this legislative bundling tactic is particularly brazen. The bill's existing provisions don't truly protect Kansas. Instead it encourages wholesale importation and private transport of out-of-state robbers, rapists, and murderers. Annual surveys show for-profits have 30 to 45 times more escapes than public facilities. Closed facilities, frequently shuttered following rapes and grotesque maltreatment by staff, litter the national landscape. Imported convicts regularly riot in a half dozen states. Poorly paid workers often flee, leaving state employees to suppress disturbances. For-profit staff turnover averages more than three times that of public prisons. Although the Kansas measure has a provision allowing a state takeover of failed private pens, the bill does not adequately address "real world" problems. It is difficult to imagine how a private operator would provide adequate insurance for its operations. Examples of potential exposure include situations like the murder of a Montana prisoner by Hawaiian convicts at the BRG prison in Texas. Hawaiians twice torched that facility. The Kansas Department of Corrections already has difficulty filling employee vacancies. The notion that it could immediately provide hundreds of trained officers and support staff to operate a remote for-profit where workers had resigned en masse or went on strike is simply ludicrous. The department lacks the authority to incarcerate other states' prisoners, but a private pen in Kansas would house many hundreds of such convicts. For-profit salesmen testifying before legislative committees claimed staff from other states could fill in, but they often are already unable to meet contractual staffing level requirements in those distant locations. After summer 2004 riots by out-of-state prisoners at the Corrections Corporation of America facilities at Crowley, Colo., and Beattyville, Ky., scores of employees immediately quit their jobs. Hutchinson already has experienced some perils of privatization, witness the jailing of former Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie for accepting $284,000 in payments from a private firm that used to operate a jail annex. Kansas would be wise to heed the call for a moratorium on construction of these "Rent-a-pens" by denominations ranging from Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and the United Church of Christ. Frank Smith, Bluff City

April 23, 2006 Topeka Capital-Journal
A bill clearly against the interests of public safety and protection of Kansas taxpayers may soon win passage. Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt has inserted special interest, for-profit prison language into a veto-proof sexual offender bill, HB2576. For years, Schmidt's similar bills were unable to win passage on their own merits. The bill is presently in conference committee to be considered when legislators return from adjournment. This legislative "bundling" tactic is particularly brazen. Through dozens of substantial contributions from the for-profit GEO Group and its lobbyists, Schmidt and his colleagues have been amply rewarded for ignoring the public interest. The bill encourages wholesale importation and private transport of out-of-state robbers, rapists, and murderers. Annual surveys show for-profits have 30-45 times more escapes than public facilities. Imported convicts regularly riot in a half dozen states. Poorly paid workers often flee, leaving distant state employees to suppress disturbances. The Kansas's Department of Corrections already has substantial difficulty recruiting employees. At year's end, 121 uniformed positions were vacant. It couldn't immediately provide hundreds of trained officers and support staff at a remote for-profit where workers struck or resigned en masse. For-profit salesmen testified that staff from faraway states could fill in, but they often are already unable to meet their own contractual staffing requirements. After 2004 riots by out-of-state prisoners at facilities in Colorado and Kentucky, scores of low-paid employees immediately quit their jobs. Kansas would be wise to heed the call for a moratorium on construction or outright abolition of these "Rent-a-pens" by denominations including Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and the United Church of Christ. FRANK SMITH, Private Corrections Institute, Bluff City

April 19, 2006 Chanute Tribune
Op-Ed By: Frank Smith Private Corrections Institute. Thanks to distortion of our legislative procedures a bill clearly against the interests of public safety and protection of Kansas taxpayers may soon win passage. Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt from Independence has inserted special interest, for-profit prison language into a veto-proof sexual offender bill, HB2576. For three years, Schmidt's similar bills were unable to win passage on their own merits. The bill is presently in conference committee and will be considered when the Legislature returns from adjournment. At a time when the attention of the public has been focused on deal-making in Washington by the exposure of scandals such as the crimes of Jack Abramoff and ex-Representative "Duke" Cunningham, as well as the budget "earmarks" that led to passage of the $230 million Alaska "Bridge to Nowhere," this legislative "bundling" tactic is particularly brazen. Through dozens of substantial contributions from the for-profit GEO Group and its lobbyists, Schmidt's colleagues and leadership committees have been amply rewarded for ignoring the public interest. Woodson County and Yates Center were led to believe a private prison would provide an economic boon. Quite the opposite is the case. Peer reviewed national studies from six universities, in Washington, Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina and Kentucky and research from a D.C. think tank indicate that even public prisons, where staff are often paid twice as much as in the privates, don't help the economy. Communities within a 50-mile radius of Yates Center lack the available workforce to staff such a facility. Guards would require clean criminal and domestic violence records, a GED or high school diploma, and need to be young enough to physically handle the extremely stressful and dangerous shift-work environment. The for-profits endure a 52 percent annual staff turnover, more than thrice that of better-paying public facilities. Guard make $8 hourly, or less commonly, work two jobs depriving them of the alertness necessary to protect themselves and other staff, inmates and the public alike. For-profits regularly contest assessments and overcharge taxpayers for millions of dollars. 79 percent of Corrections Corporation of American and 69 percent of GEO's facilities have received tax abatement and infrastructure incentives leaving municipalities with little to show for their investments. If GEO somehow actually decided to build in Woodson, it expects free land with utilities already in place. The bill's existing provisions don't truly protect Kansas. Instead it encourages wholesale importation and private transport of out-of-state robbers, rapists, and murderers. Annual surveys show for-profits have 30-45 times more escapes than public facilities. Closed facilities, frequently shuttered following rapes and grotesque maltreatment by poorly screened staff, litter the national landscape. Imported convicts regularly riot in a half dozen states. Poorly paid workers often flee, leaving distant state employees to suppress disturbances. Although the measure has a provision allowing a Kansas state takeover of failed private pens, the bill does not adequately address "real world" problems. For instance, it's difficult to imagine how a GEO could provide adequate insurance for its operations. Examples of potential exposure include situations like the murder of a Montana prisoner by Hawaiian convicts at BRG's Texas prison. Hawaiians twice torched that facility. The Kansas Department of Corrections already has substantial difficulty filling employee vacancies. The notion that it could immediately provide hundreds of trained officers and support staff to operate a remote for-profit where workers had resigned en masse or went on strike is simply ludicrous. The Department lacks the authority to incarcerate other states' prisoners, but a private pen in Kansas would house many hundreds of such convicts. For-profit salesmen testifying before legislative committees claimed staff from other states could fill in, but they often are already unable to meet contractual staffing level requirements in those distant locations. After summer 2004 riots by out-of-state prisoners at the Corrections Corporation of America facilities at Crowley, Colorado and Beattyville, Kentucky, scores of low-paid employees immediately quit their jobs. Kansas has already experienced some perils of privatization; witness the imprisonment of Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie for accepting and laundering $284,000 in bribes for privatizing his jail. Kansas would be wise to heed the call for a moratorium on construction or outright abolition of these "Rent-a-pens" by denominations ranging from Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and the United Church of Christ. *** Frank Smith has been a researcher and provider in criminal justice and corrections for 35 years and is considered to be a leading expert on for-profit prisons. He resides in Bluff City.

April 19, 2006 Trading Markets
In Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ budget amendments, offered Tuesday, she is seeking authorization for $20.5 million in bonds to build prison space to incarcerate the anticipated increase in inmates from legislation that increases punishments of sex offenders. On prisons, the proposal for bonding authority to expand El Dorado prison could clash with a move to build a private prison. Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz opposes private prisons, but declined to say whether the bonding proposal would knock out private prison legislation. “We’re putting forward the options that we prefer, to at least handle the initial expansion,” Werholtz said.

April 16, 2006 AP
When legislation runs into a roadblock, lawmakers often get around the obstacle with the time-tested tactic of bundling bills. A bill on death’s doorstep gets attached to a popular bill — and if there’s motherhood, apple pie and a touch of divinity in the mix, so much the better. Last year, senators passed a bill allowing private prisons in Kansas and waited for the House to act. But the idea is about as popular with many House members as coddling sex offenders. This year, lawmakers have the mother of motherhood bills — getting tough on sex offenders, particularly those victimizing children. It’s just the kind of thing House members can go home and crow about while seeking re-election. The two chambers passed differing versions of what’s been dubbed “Jessica’s Law,” and House and Senate negotiators worked out the differences. But they also bundled it with the private prison bill so lawmakers must consider both ideas together when they return April 26 to wrap up their session.

April 10, 2006 Lawrence Journal-World
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said she’s willing to accept private prisons to get a bill that increases penalties for sex offenders. “There are a lot of protections in place,” Sebelius said of the measure that would authorize the state to enter into a contract for a private prison. The prison proposal is contained in a bill that would increase prison sentences for sex offenders. While there is nearly unanimous support in the Legislature for the sex offender portion of the bill, there is less support for changing policy to allow private prisons. The provision would give the corrections secretary authority over the construction, licensing and oversight of a private prison. In addition, under the measure, no private prison could be operated in a county without approval of the county commissioners and a vote of county residents. But Frank Smith of Bluff City, an outspoken critic of private prisons, said the private prison industry has been plagued with problems such as prison riots, low wages for employees and substandard conditions for inmates. “Other states have had terrible experiences with legislation such as this, which when passed seemed to provide certain guarantees,” Smith said.

March 24, 2006 Wichita Eagle
With an appalling display of lobbyist strength, special interest legislation meant to solely enrich the out-of-state for-profit prison industry was recently forced through a Kansas House committee. Then Wednesday, a bill authorizing privately owned and operated prisons cleared the full Senate. The ostensible rationale for bringing nonliving wages to Kansas corrections is alleged taxpayer savings. But repeated legitimate research fails to demonstrate any such thrift. And there's no guarantee the proposed private prisons would ever hold a single Kansas inmate. For-profit operator GEO Group enlisted economically depressed Woodson County in eastern Kansas to strengthen its ploy to enable proliferation of its "Rent-a-Pens." Studies conducted by professors from five universities and an independent think tank, however, conclusively demonstrate that even public prisons, where wages are sometimes twice as high, do not improve faltering rural economies. Prisons dissuade safer and better-paying industries from locating in host counties. No economic feasibility assessment has ever been done in Woodson County, which simply couldn't recruit sufficient low-paid employees. A survey comparing similar-sized populations of a public prison system with national for-profits indicated the privates had 30 times as many escapes. Liability damage language has rarely protected any hosting state. And might for-profits bring corruption? Prosecutors accused former Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie of taking $284,000 to privatize his jail. To test the efficacy of the services provided, look no further than the GEO Group's Jena, La., prison and the Cornell Companies' New Morgan Academy in Morgantown, Pa. Both have been closed for years after horrendous abuse of scores of juveniles. Management and Training Corp. closed its prison in Eagle Mountain, Calif., after rioting and murders. I've visited Corrections Corporation of America prisons in Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona following such riots. It took law enforcement from four states to quell the previous riot at the Crowley County, Colo., prison. After extensive study, numerous denominations -- including Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and the Church of Christ -- condemned this industry. Kansas would do well to heed their call. Frank Smith lives in Bluff City.

Labette Correctional Conservation Camp
Labette County, Kansas

February 27, 2007 Parsons Sun
Some employees of the Labette Correctional Conservation Camp women's facility lost vacation time when the facility was transferred to county management on Feb. 1, but county commissioners say it isn't their fault. On Monday, commissioners met with LCCC administrators to discuss the situation. County Commissioner Jerry Carson said the situations at the men's and women's camps are different because the county has never operated the women's camp directly. Labette County created the boot-camp style facility in the early '90s and has held responsibility for operating it. The camp has always been operated by a private management firm until now, however. The women's camp was created by the Kansas Department of Corrections a few years later. KDOC hired the same company to operate the facility and the two have operated in concert. However, Carson said the differences translate into employees at the women's camp losing leave time. Carson pointed the finger at GRW Corp., the Tennessee-based management firm that ran the facilities. Carson said he thought there was a "gentleman's agreement" with GRW to honor the vacation time. Carson said he would be willing to meet with camp employees and explain the situation to them. Commissioner Lonie Addis agreed with that assessment of the situation but said he didn't like it. "The simple fact is it's still not fair," Addis said. Commissioners also discussed setting up times to meet with camp employees to discuss the county's personnel policy. The county has revised the policy in order to include camp employees.

Leavenworth Prison
Leavenworth, Kansas
Jun 28, 2017 kansascity.com
Federal prosecutor leaves after revealing she listened to Leavenworth prison phone calls
A federal prosecutor at the center of an investigation at Leavenworth Detention Center has left the U.S. attorney’s office, days after she revealed that she had listened to attorney-client phone calls at the prison, contrary to her previous statements in court. Erin Tomasic had been a special assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, Kan., and came under increasing scrutiny in recent months as a federal judge ordered an investigation into whether law enforcement officials used prison recordings of inmates talking with their attorneys — conversations that are protected by law. Federal prosecutors notified a judge on May 16 that Tomasic no longer works for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas. That came six days after Tomasic told her supervisor she had listened to the recorded phone conversations of two Leavenworth Detention Center inmates and their attorneys, according to court documents filed June 19 by the U.S. attorney’s office. Those court filings, signed by U.S. Attorney Tom Beall and two assistant U.S. attorneys, say they are meant to correct statements by Tomasic that “may be deemed misleading.” The prosecutors describe in the documents how Tomasic told a federal judge in September — and for months allowed fellow prosecutors to believe — that law enforcement had not listened to recorded inmate-attorney phone calls obtained by prosecutors investigating contraband at the prison. In fact, as Tomasic later revealed, she had listened to some of the recordings two months earlier. “Tomasic expressed remorse for having listened to the defendant’s calls,” the federal prosecutors wrote. “And for not revealing this action sooner.” Days after Tomasic left her job, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ordered a wider investigation into the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kan., citing an ongoing problem with prosecutors’ “inconsistent, inaccurate or misleading statements.” Robinson found that government officials had destroyed “critical evidence” at an earlier stage of the investigation. Last year, Robinson had complained that Tomasic entered the judge’s chambers after hours, without authority, after having delivered evidence in the investigation to Robinson’s office earlier in the day. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office confirmed that Tomasic no longer worked for the office but declined to answer questions. Tomasic could not be reached for comment. The prison recordings probe stemmed from an earlier criminal investigation of contraband in the privately-run prison, which is operated under contract for the U.S. Marshals Service by CoreCivic Inc. — formerly known as Corrections Corp. of America. Many of the people held at the prison are defendants awaiting trial and have not yet been convicted. Prosecutors pursuing the contraband case collected hundreds of recordings of inmates speaking with their attorneys, both on video and on the phone. Defense attorneys protested that those conversations are protected by the Sixth Amendment and attorney-client privilege, and that the prison had offered repeated assurances that they would be private. Two Kansas City-area attorneys, Adam Crane and David Johnson, have sued CoreCivic and the prison’s telephone provider, Securus Technologies, accusing the firms of violating state wiretap laws by recording their conversations with clients. Barry Pollack, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the recording of attorney-client conversations is a widespread problem at private prisons, which are not bound by Federal Bureau of Prisons prohibitions against it. Examples of a federal prosecutor actually listening to or using the recordings, he said, are more rare. “That is, to me, far more troubling,” Pollack said. “It goes to the very reason those conversations are protected.” A court-appointed special master investigating the recordings reported that 188 attorney-client phone calls had been obtained from the prison by law enforcement, including 54 marked “private” that should not have been available. For months, Tomasic and other prosecutors maintained that they took measures to avoid listening to those calls. But in the court documents filed last week, federal prosecutors say Tomasic in July listened to multiple recordings of phone calls between Juan Herrera-Zamora, a man held at Leavenworth while facing drug charges, and his attorney. Two months later, she listened to a recording of another inmate, Ashley Huff, speaking with her attorney. When Herrera-Zamora’s attorney asked prosecutors if they had listened to his calls, the prosecutors said they had not. Beall and the other prosecutors wrote that they believed it was true, and Tomasic did not correct them. Herrera-Zamora’s attorneys filed motions challenging his conviction, alleging that prosecutors had used the recordings against him. For Tomasic to listen to the calls would run contrary to the U.S. attorney’s office’s stated practice of having officials unrelated to the case screen the calls to “avoid any appearance of impropriety.” When a judge in September asked Tomasic if inmates had been notified of the recordings, she did not mention listening to the calls of Herrera-Zamora or Huff. Tomasic said attorney-client calls had only been accessed in a few accidental instances, and that agents had stopped listening within 10 or 15 seconds. Then, on May 10, Tomasic informed a supervisor that she had listened to the two inmates’ calls. In a May 16 court hearing, the supervisor replaced Tomasic in court and told the judge that Tomasic no longer worked for the U.S. attorney’s office. Federal Public Defender Melody Brannon has pushed for the court to investigate further Tomasic’s after-hours entry into the judge’s chambers. In a motion seeking more investigation, Brannon wrote that a May 23 letter Tomasic sent to the court “raises serious factual disputes” with earlier accounts of the incident and carries implications for “the veracity of key players in this litigation.” That request is still pending with the court, and the investigation by the special master continues.

Apr 26, 2017 washingtonexaminer.com
DOJ inspector general: Privately run federal prison poses safety risks for inmates, prisoners
A new report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General says a privately-run federal prison in Kansas put the safety of its inmates in jeopardy because of understaffing, overcrowding and poor training.  The facility in question — The Leavenworth Detention Center — is a 1,200 bed maximum-security facility is run by CoreCivic, under a contract reached with the U.S. Marshals Service. "[I]n our judgment, the [U.S. Marshal Service's] lack of effective continuous monitoring at the [Leavenworth prison] presents risks that may extend throughout all its other contract detention facilities," the audit said. The audit made 24 recommendations for the facility after the review, which took place between 2010 and 2015. One of the biggest issues was the lack of correctional officer vacancies. At times, 23 percent of guard positions remained vacant. "These correctional officer vacancies led to several problems in 2015, including the LDC's long-term use of mandatory overtime, which LDC personnel said led to lower morale, security concerns, and fewer correctional officers available to escort medical staff and detainees to and from the health services unit," the audit said. Another discovery was the U.S. Marshal's decision to not punish CoreCivic for failing to uphold terms of the deal on run the facility. In 2007, the U.S. Marshals agreed to a 5-year contract with CoreCivic that included three 5-year option periods at a cost of $697 million. According to the audit, the federal government failed to explain why it entered into a sole-source contract with CoreCivic, and how it reached those numbers. CoreCivic responded to the recommendations by saying it agreed with all of them. But it also said it has made safety a priority. "CoreCivic provides a diverse range of government solutions and has worked in close partnership with the [Marhsals at Leavenworth] for over 26 years, supporting the [Marshals'] needs to securely and safely house individuals criminally charged with violating federal laws," reads a portion of the CoreCivic response. "In doing so, the safety and security of our facility, staff and those entrusted to our care has consistently been our top priority." In February, CoreCivic announced its 2016 revenue was $1.85 billion, a growth of $6 million from 2015. CoreCivic, which is the fifth largest corrections company in the nation and one of the major private prison companies, has been boosted by the election of President Trump. Former President Barack Obama announced his Justice Department would phase out its contracts with private prisons, a move that was reversed in February by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Feb 15, 2017 cjonline.com
Federal prison in Kansas recorded hundreds of attorney-inmate meetings, court investigator finds
A privately run federal prison in Kansas recorded video of hundreds of meetings between inmates and their attorneys, a court-led investigation has found after defense lawyers first raised concerns months ago about possible violations of client privilege. The detention center in Leavenworth, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, possessed video recordings of all attorney-inmate meetings reviewed by the court investigator, who examined 30 randomly chosen visits that took place in spring 2016 and concluded hundreds were recorded. The extent of the recordings hasn’t been previously disclosed. Leavenworth CCA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas have been at the heart of a monthslong drama in the region’s legal community over recordings of attorney-inmate meetings at the prison, as well as recordings of attorney-inmate phone calls. The ability of lawyers to meet with clients privately is a bedrock principle of the American legal system, and this fall, a federal judge named a special master to investigate. Defense attorneys first raised concerns last summer over video recording of meetings with their clients. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting a handful of inmates, accusing them of engaging in an elaborate smuggling ring within the prison. The inmates’ attorneys put forward evidence that meetings had been recorded and have since provided evidence that inmate phone calls with attorneys also were recorded, even when attorneys had requested their numbers be blocked from recordings. The special master, David Cohen, told Judge Julie Robinson last month that while reviewing all of the video from all rooms where attorney meetings took place would prove prohibitive, he reviewed a smaller sample of meetings to determine that every meeting that took place in a room with a camera was recorded. The attorney visitor logs for the 12-week period last year where recordings occurred showed more than 700 attorney visits to rooms equipped with cameras, Cohen wrote in a filing. “It appears all of these attorney-inmate meetings were recorded,” Cohen said. “Of course, this analysis does not address whether any person ever viewed these recordings.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained the video and, while acknowledging missteps, has denied suggestions of impropriety. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has said “no employee of the United States Attorney’s Office or law enforcement officer” has viewed any recording provided by CCA. “I made a very serious mistake … but I want the court to know I did not intend to gain that footage,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Tomasic said in September. Parallel to the video recordings, Cohen also has been investigating the extent of attorney-inmate phone recordings at the Leavenworth facility. In December, Cohen reported he had analyzed 48,333 telephone audio files from the facility and that a little more than 200 of those calls were made to a known attorney number. In a follow-up report, Cohen said the more than 48,000 recorded phone calls came from about 1,400 numbers involving 58 inmates. CCA uses the prison technology company Securus to operate its phone system. Securus has said Leavenworth CCA was responsible for designating attorney numbers as private, nonrecorded numbers. The company acknowledged allegations have been made in other places in the past regarding recording but said it rechecks its system each time and has always found it works properly. Melody Brannon, the federal public defender for Kansas, said Cohen’s findings exposed unanswered questions. She urges Robinson to expand the special master’s authority. “Specifically, the defense asks the special master to determine the policy and practice of the Kansas (U.S. Attorney’s Office) in obtaining, reviewing and disseminating attorney-client communications, regardless of whether the USAO classified the communication as privileged or not,” Brannon said in a January court filing. She added the special master should also identify cases where the material was used and “mark the possible constitutional, statutory and ethical implications.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office is fighting the public defender’s request for additional power for the special master. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett argues Brannon hasn’t offered any evidence warranting an expanded investigation. Barnett has said prosecutors didn’t anticipate receiving recorded attorney-client calls from the facility during their investigations. Prosecutors had “no intent or desire” to obtain attorney-client calls, she has said, adding they weren’t used by prosecutors. “When discoveries of these calls occurred, appropriate steps were taken by the United States,” Barnett said in a January filing. “Despite everything that has occurred in this case, the United States has not sought to hide the discovery of these calls, and would not do so.” Prosecutors also argue the phone recordings aren’t privileged because the facility warned inmates their calls may be recorded. By continuing their calls and not taking steps to have calls with attorneys exempt from surveillance, the inmates waived their right to keep the conversations from being monitored, they argue. Depending on how far Robinson allows Cohen to go, the outcome of his investigation holds potentially significant consequences in ongoing cases. Only a handful of people have been charged in the Leavenworth smuggling investigation, but prosecutors indicate they believe upwards of 90 inmates may be involved, as well as a number of workers. The current controversy is also drawing attention to Securus, which has faced scrutiny in other places over attorney-client recordings. A Kansas and Missouri attorney filed a federal lawsuit against CCA and Securus in January. They argue Securus and CCA record confidential attorney-client communications, despite no legitimate reason to record. Attorneys have sued Securus before. The company settled a 2014 lawsuit in Texas, agreeing to provide additional safeguards. The settlement required implementation of a system to allow attorneys to register their phone numbers on a “do not record” list for calls with clients.

Jan 6, 2017 kmuw.org
Controversy Over Attorney-Client Recordings At Leavenworth Continues
The Kansas Federal Public Defender says federal prosecutors have failed to turn over all attorney-client phone calls that were recorded at the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth to a special master looking into their legality. In a court filing Wednesday, the public defender identified recorded calls to at least two attorneys that were not disclosed by prosecutors. “The Special Master should be given authority to determine why these telephone calls were not included in the material provided by the government, and whether there are still recorded calls in the USAO (U.S. Attorney’s office) possession or knowledge that should have been disclosed,” the filing states. In October, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson appointed David Cohen, a Cleveland attorney, as special master to investigate whether, and to what extent, the pretrial detention facility had turned over privileged video and audio recordings of attorney-client meetings to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas. The issue arose as part of a wide-ranging criminal case in which inmates and corrections officers at the facility have been charged with distributing drugs and other contraband within its walls. Initially, six defendants, including two inmates, were charged. In its filing Wednesday, the public defender says the government has since identified 95 additional detainees who may be subject to indictment. The underlying criminal case, however, has largely been overshadowed by the revelations last summer that the private operator of the facility, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), had been recording attorney-client phone calls and meetings and, in some cases, turning the recordings over to prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kansas. In a report last month, Cohen identified 229 recorded calls made to known attorney phone numbers. The public defender now says that some recorded calls were not identified by Cohen because prosecutors had failed to turn them over to him. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office did not return a call seeking comment. Lawyers with the Federal Public Defender could not be reached for comment. Cohen, reached at his Cleveland office, said he did not know why the government might not have produced some recordings. “I don’t think one of those reasons is that it’s in the court’s vault and I didn’t come across it. I don’t think it’s because I didn’t see something that’s there,” he said. “What that reason is could be any number of things. I just don’t know.” The public defender and U.S. Attorney’s office have been at odds since the initial revelations of the tapings. That mutual antagonism has spilled over into a dispute over the scope of Cohen’s investigation. The public defender wants him to examine whether CCA routinely recorded attorney-client meetings and turned them over to the government. The U.S. Attorney wants Cohen’s investigation limited to editing out and retaining privileged attorney-client matters. The public defender’s suspicions have been heightened by what it says are other discrepancies in the government’s production of information to Cohen. For example, it says, the government told the court in August that it was unaware CCA had recorded, and not simply monitored, attorney-client meetings. Yet two weeks later, it says, the government told the court that it had obtained 18 terabytes of surveillance footage from CCA, including recordings of attorney-client meeting rooms.

Sep 8, 2016 kansascity.com
Recorded prison videos are ‘horrendous situation,’ judge says
federal judge in Kansas City, Kan., said Wednesday she will give wide latitude to an investigation into recordings of phone calls and video of meetings between attorneys and inmates at Leavenworth Detention Center. Defense attorneys representing inmates at the privately-run federal prison objected when they learned last month that their meetings with clients had been recorded. Such conversations are privileged by law, and the prison had offered repeated assurances that they would be private. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson questioned federal prosecutors about recordings they had obtained from the prison during a contraband investigation. Robinson said a special investigation into the case would seek any violations of prisoners’ Sixth Amendment rights and could end in sanctions against the Kansas U.S. attorney’s office or dismissal of the contraband case. The judge scolded prosecutors for rushing forward with the case, which she called a “horrendous situation.” “You all need to get your act together,” Robinson said. Prosecutors said they obtained the recordings inadvertently while gathering evidence of a contraband ring at the prison that could involve as many as 95 inmates and 60 others. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Tomasic said she was overwhelmed with the amount of material and made mistakes. A grand jury subpoena for all surveillance video at the prison produced some footage of meetings between attorneys and clients. Dozens of phone calls between attorneys and their clients were mistakenly provided to other lawyers in the case. “It was messy,” Tomasic said. “I know I’ve learned a lot from this and I think everyone in our office has.” A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said prosecutors did not believe any criminal defendants would be harmed by the recordings. But the judge said it appeared some inmates’ rights had been violated. The federal Bureau of Prisons forbids recording in attorney-client meeting rooms. But the company that runs the Leavenworth prison, Corrections Corporation of America, insists that silent video recordings of inmate-attorney meetings “are a standard practice” throughout the country and are used for prison security. Last month, Robinson ordered the recordings stopped. Inmate phone calls are recorded in the prison, which offers attorneys a system to request that recording be disabled for them. But one defense attorney wrote to the court Tuesday that calls between himself and a client in Leavenworth had been recorded despite multiple requests that the recording be stopped and assurances from prison officials that it had been. The case is symptomatic of a failure to respect attorney-client privilege in prisons and jails across the country, said Barry Pollack, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Several Kansas and Missouri jails have acknowledged recording attorney-client meetings. Like privately-run facilities, they are not bound by Bureau of Prisons rules. “What I think is particularly troubling about it,” Pollack said of the Leavenworth case, “is you have a failure on the part of the institution that is recording something that it shouldn’t be. Here, they turned it over to the prosecutors.” “Anyone facing prison time needs legal counsel,” he continued. “And essentially, they aren’t getting it.”  After setting the course of the investigation, Robinson said she had recently been “troubled” to learn that her staff had discovered the prosecutor Tomasic in her chambers after hours, soon after a large package of evidence had been stored in the judge’s office. Prosecutors said Tomasic was only dropping off another piece of evidence, and had been let in by a U.S. marshal. The U.S. attorney and the marshal apologized. But Robinson said she was not fully convinced by the explanation. “It just doesn’t make sense to me. It boggles my mind,” she said. The judge said all evidence will be locked in a vault. Robinson said she planned to order the U.S. Department of Justice to pay for the investigation, which is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Aug 17, 2016 salinapost.com
Judge to appoint special master to probe Kan. jailhouse recordings
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas has agreed to appoint a special master to determine whether a private prison violated attorney-client privilege by video recording meetings between inmates and their attorneys. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Tuesday asked attorneys to provide her with their thoughts on the special master’s scope. The master would investigate defense attorneys’ claims that Corrections Corporation of America made video and audio recordings of confidential conversations and passed some on to prosecutors. Robinson said she didn’t expect to appoint the master until next month. The practice at CCA — a private, for-profit company that manages dozens of U.S. facilities — surfaced in a case over distribution of contraband at the Leavenworth Detention Center in which audio-less video recordings were subpoenaed by a grand jury.     

Jun 9, 2016 ljworld.com
Former prison guard files lawsuit alleging civil rights and ADA violations
A former correctional officer for the Leavenworth Detention Center has filed a lawsuit against the center's owner for alleged violations of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act that occurred while she was pregnant. In the lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Kan., federal court this week, Demonae Serial-Starks said she was working as a guard for the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the detention center for the federal government, when she learned that she was pregnant. Because of her condition, the lawsuit claims, CCA employees intentionally discriminated against her. Her supervisors and co-workers “made Serial's working conditions intolerable,” her attorney, Ryan L. McClelland, claimed in the lawsuit. Officials from CCA did not respond to questions submitted via email this week from the Lawrence-Journal World. Serial is now 29 and is living in Arkansas, the lawsuit said. In 2013, after informing her supervisors that her doctor said she should only perform light-duty assignments because of a high-risk pregnancy and should stay away from Mace (a brand of pepper spray), Serial claims she was forced to work more difficult jobs. In addition, she was not provided reasonable accommodations, including frequent bathroom breaks, the lawsuit said. One time, according to the lawsuit, she was forced to stay in the control unit for three hours after she told her supervisor she needed to use the restroom. She was allegedly told that no other officers were available to relieve her. After she was released from the “bubble,” as the control unit is called, she urinated on herself as she was trying to get to the restroom, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that Serial was finally told to take family leave early because she was pregnant and could not work in the main prison area among the inmates; however, less than one week after the baby was born, the human resources manager allegedly called her and said her family leave had expired and that she had to return immediately to work. CCA, the lawsuit, said, refused to extend the family leave. She resigned, explaining to the manager that she could not return to work in a hostile environment, the lawsuit said. After quitting, she filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In March, the EEOC issued Serial two Notices of Right To Sue for civil rights and discrimination based on disability violations.

cjonline.com Apr 11, 2016
Affidavit: Elaborate smuggling ring at CCA Leavenworth left inmates like 'zombies'
On Monday, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced charges for seven people for their roles in what prosecutors allege was an elaborate drug-smuggling ring that moved methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes into a maximum-security prison in Leavenworth. Seven people were charged this week in federal court for their roles in what prosecutors allege was an elaborate drug-smuggling ring that moved methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes into a maximum-security prison in Leavenworth. Beginning in September 2015, Jeff Stokes, a special agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, began investigating the drug trade within CCA Detention Center, a private prison. Listening to phone calls from prisoners to friends and family members, Stokes heard inmate Stephen Rowlette describe how the inmates in his cell block were “blistered” and “high.” The inmates walk around like “zombies,” Rowlette said, and some inmates were “making a mint” off the drug trade, according to an affidavit released Monday. To buy contraband, inmates convinced family members and friends to send money through wire transfers to Karl Carter. a fellow inmate, and several people outside the prison, according to an affidavit. As Rowlette allegedly told his wife, inmates in his cell pod were strung out on “real deal drugs.” One inmate, Mark, spent $2,000 each week on illegal contraband, he said. A pack of cigarettes cost as much as $150 and a half pint of vodka cost $40, according to the affidavit. A pouch of tobacco sold for $100 and a gram of methamphetamine cost $300. In addition to wire transfers, the inmates would exchange hundreds of dollars in person. “The inmates instructed their family and friends to fill out a large manila envelope with a law firm identified on the return address,” the affidavit alleges. “Affixed to the front of the manila envelope is a letter-sized white envelope inside which the individuals put money wrapped in white paper so the CCA guards could not see it.” Once inmates had enough money for the drug of their choice, they would contact Carter. Carter or another inmate would put the contraband in a sock, put the sock down their pants and meet the buyer in one of three places inside CCA Leavenworth: the church, the law library or a drug abuse counseling program. There, they would exchange drugs or alcohol for money. Though inmates often had to pass through a metal detector before returning to their cell, one inmate told Stokes that corrections officers ignored beeps from the metal detector “90 percent of the time.” Still, the inmates needed a way to get the drugs inside the prison and into their hands. That, prosecutors allege, is where Antonio Aiono came in. Aiono, 28, was a guard at the prison. According to the affidavit, he would bring contraband into the prison and leave it behind in a mop bucket to be picked up by an inmate working with Carter. Aiono brought the drugs in a potato chip bag or his underwear. Alcohol would come in a Sprite bottle, Stokes discovered. The drug trade proved profitable for Carter, according to the affidavit. A review of his account at the prison found $15,890 had been deposited between October 2015 and March 2016. On Monday, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced charges against Carter, Aiono and five others involved in the alleged conspiracy. Aiono, of Platte City, Mo., was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, providing methamphetamine to inmates, providing synthetic marijuana to inmates and providing tobacco products to inmates. The first two charges carry maximum sentence of 20 years in prison each and fines of more than $1 million. Rowlette, 35, and Carter, 41, were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possessing methamphetamine, possessing synthetic marijuana and possessing tobacco products. The first two charges carry maximum sentence of 20 years in prison each and fines of more than $1 million. David Bishop and Catherine Rowlette, of Sedalia, Mo., were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, providing methamphetamine to inmates, providing synthetic marijuana to inmates and providing tobacco products to inmates. If convicted, they also face more than 40 years in prison and fines of more than $1 million. Lorenzo Black was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, providing methamphetamine to inmates, providing synthetic marijuana to inmates and providing tobacco products to inmates. He also faces more than 40 years in prison and fines of more than $1 million if convicted. Alicia Tackett, 29, of Independence, Mo., was charged with providing synthetic marijuana to inmates and providing tobacco products to inmates. If convicted, she faces one year in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. The charges announced Monday were the result of a seven-month investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Secret Service, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration, Grissom said. Grissom’s news conference is likely his last as U.S. attorney. The 62-year-old announced Monday he is resigning his position, effective Friday. Monday’s news conference marks the second time in as many years that a guard at a Leavenworth prison stands accused of smuggling. In August 2015, Michael Harston was accused of taking bribes in exchange for carrying contraband tobacoo into the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth. That institution, operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, is a medium-security prison. Harston, a resident of Kansas City, Mo., was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and four counts of accepting bribes. Harston also received payments from the relatives of inmates through wire transfers, Grissom’s office alleged, and was caught on video surveillance distributing tobacco to inmates.

Aug 5, 2015 kmbc.com
Correctional employees arrested after Edwardsville car burglaries

Victimized want charges filed. I figure if somebody's going to break into it, they're going to, but i can't afford to replace the window so i don't ever lock it. Peggy: loretta moore's unlocked car is one of four burglarized early sunday morning. The burglars didn't get anything, but loretta says they sure tried. They went through the console. I think they were probably looking for loose change. And they pulled the ashtray out. They just more or less trashed it. Peggy: most of edwardsville court was asleep at the time, but not della vinson. From her third floor window, she was watching what the security cameras were capturing -- a man who'd gotten out of a white pickup truck, rummaging through residents' vehicles. So i just kept looking out the window and then he went from one car to the other and i called 911. Peggy: della was still on the phone with 911 when the suspects were leaving this parking lot. She saw them heading out her to 4th street, and police weren't far behind. They soon discovered the suspects were prison officers at cca, corrections corporation of america. It's a private federal holding facility in leavenworth. Tonight cca says the officers are on paid administrative leave and further action could be taken later. No charges yet, but residents here say they hope there will be soon for violating the public's trust and trying to steal from older people in a housing project. We don't have very much. We'd like to keep what little we got.

February 11, 2011 AP
The attorney for a therapist accused of stalking a soldier says her treatment while jailed at a Leavenworth facility may constitute "cruel and unusual" punishment. Rachelle Santiago is charged with stalking and attempting to elude police at Fort Riley. Attorney Ronald Wurtz claimed in a court filing Thursday that Santiago's anti-anxiety medication has been reduced against the court's order. He says the combination of a cold room, cold food and lack of medication is unreasonable, especially for someone with a post-psychotic mental condition. His asks that the 43-year-old Manhattan woman be placed at a mental facility immediately or at a halfway house until a bed is available at one.

January 7, 2011 Kansas City Star
A Kirkwood, Mo., man charged in Kansas City with sex trafficking tried to hire a hit man to kill his purported victim and a federal prosecutor, authorities have alleged. Bradley Cook, 32, allegedly hatched the scheme while he was incarcerated at a private jail for federal inmates in Leavenworth, according to a statement prosecutors filed Thursday evening with a federal appeals court in St. Louis. In a written statement, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said her office took immediate steps to protect the victim and the prosecutor upon learning of the alleged threat. “We consider it a serious matter whenever there are allegations of anyone making threats against crime victims or attorneys in our office,” Phillips said. Cook’s lawyer, Carter Collins Law, responded in a court filing Friday afternoon, calling the new allegations “dramatic,” “incendiary” and “extraordinarily inflammatory.” Law criticized prosecutors for presenting them, without evidence, in an unsealed public filing. “The government has never produced any evidentiary support for this allegation in any court,” Law wrote. Cook and four others were charged in September in Kansas City with sexually abusing and torturing a young woman in Lebanon, Mo., then broadcasting the abuse online. Cook and the others have pleaded not guilty. Defense lawyers in the case have said they plan to investigate whether the alleged victim consented to the treatment as part of a bondage and sadomasochistic lifestyle. The allegations of attempted murder-for-hire came in response to an appeal that Cook had filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that he be released on bond pending trial. Prosecutors, who contended that Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes was a target of the scheme, filed the allegations to explain why Cook had been moved from the detention facility in Leavenworth to a jail in Bates County, Mo. Prosecutors alleged that Cook had attempted to give details about his alleged victim’s location and information about Cordes’ family, home, work hours and personal history to a “professional killer.” Cook also made plans to create an offshore account into which $20,000 would be wired to pay for the murders, the filing said.

October 7, 2009 Leavenworth Times
An inmate at a Leavenworth detention facility has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for the attempted battery of a correctional officer. Maurice Dickens was sentenced Tuesday in Leavenworth County District Court to 39 months in prison. This will run consecutive to a life sentence he is serving for the state of Maryland. Dickens, who is in custody at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center, pleaded no contest in August to one count of attempted aggravated battery. The charge stemmed from an Oct. 22, 2008, incident at the CCA facility.

September 23, 2009 Leavenworth Times
An inmate has been acquitted of aggravated battery charges related to an October incident at a Leavenworth detention facility, a prosecutor said. The not-guilty verdict came Tuesday in the trial of Joseph Bellamy. He had been accused of stabbing two correctional officers Oct. 22 at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center. The victims, Kennith Lajiness and Cory O’Neill, survived the incident and testified during the trial. Bellamy won’t be released from custody as a result of the acquittal. County Attorney Todd Thompson said Bellamy already is serving a life sentence plus 48 years he received in Maryland.

September 21, 2009 Leavenworth Times
A judge has denied a request for a change of venue in the scheduled trial of an inmate accused of stabbing two officers at a Leavenworth detention facility. The trial of Joseph Bellamy is scheduled to begin Monday in Leavenworth County District Court. He is accused of stabbing two correctional officers during an Oct. 22 incident at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center. He faces two counts of aggravated battery. Bellamy’s attorney, Kevin Reardon, argued Friday for the trial to be held outside of Leavenworth County. The attorney said the county has four major correctional facilities and everyone in the jury pool will have some connection to prisons.

September 1, 2009 Leavenworth Times
An inmate has been sentenced to six months in jail for battering an officer at a Leavenworth detention facility. Michael Matthews was sentenced Monday in Leavenworth County District Court after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battery. He won’t serve any additional jail time because the sentence will run concurrent to a life sentence he’s already received in Maryland. Matthews battered Michael Sullivan Oct. 22 at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center.

June 30, 2009 Leavenworth Times
Two inmates accused of attacking officers at a Leavenworth detention facility appeared Monday in county district court. Maurice Dickens appeared in court for a pretrial conference. Dickens faces a charge of aggravated battery for allegedly assisting in the stabbing of a correctional officer, Cory O’Neill, Oct. 22 at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center, according to County Attorney Todd Thompson. Joseph Bellamy appeared Monday in Leavenworth County District Court for an arraignment on charges of two counts of aggravated battery. Bellamy is accused of stabbing O’Neill and correctional officer Kennith Lajiness. The crimes are alleged to have occurred during the same Oct. 22 incident, according to Thompson.

June 19, 2009 Leavenworth Times
Three inmates accused of battering correctional officers at a Leavenworth detention facility were in court earlier this week. Trials have been scheduled for two of the men charged for an Oct. 22 incident at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center. The third inmate will be back in court later this month for his arraignment, according to County Attorney Todd Thompson.

October 27, 2008 Leavenworth Times
The Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center remained under a lockdown Friday following attacks on two guards earlier in the week, according to a spokeswoman for the facility. Spokeswoman Connie Parish said the two correctional officers who were stabbed during Wednesday night’s attacks remained in the hospital Friday but there was a chance one of the men may be released later that day. Parish said the investigation into the simultaneous attacks continued Friday. Weapons used by the attackers still hadn’t been found at the private detention facility. “They continue to look,” Parish said. The Leavenworth Detention Center houses inmates awaiting federal trial under a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service. The attacks reportedly occurred at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday in the day room of a pod considered a high security area for male inmates. Three inmates were placed in segregation following the attacks. Two were suspected of being involved. The third was their cellmate, according to Parish. The Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office was contacted to help with the investigation with plans of sending a case to the Leavenworth County Attorney’s Office for a determination about criminal charges.

October 23, 2008 Kansas City Star
Two officers from the Corrections Corp. of America’s Leavenworth Detention Facility are recovering today after at least two inmates assaulted them Wednesday night. Connie Parish, a spokeswoman for the privately run corrections facility, said the officers were doing well in a Kansas City area hospital and their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening. One, Parish said, had a small puncture wound to the lung, the apparent victim of a stabbing. Neither will require surgery. Parish described the attacks as two separate assaults that occurred about 10:15 p.m. in a high-security area at the facility, 100 Highway Terrace in Leavenworth. The officers were making rounds, checking on inmates in a day room, when they were assaulted. Parish said that three inmates from the same cell were placed in segregation after the assault, and that at least two were involved. No inmates were injured, she said. Authorities are investigating the assaults and are looking for a weapon or weapons that were used. The Leavenworth County Sheriff Department returned to the facility this morning to investigate the assaults and interview inmates. The facility has been placed on lockdown, Parish said, and because of that, there has been no visitation.

April 27, 2007 Leavenworth Times
A man has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after he orchestrated drug deals while an inmate at a Leavenworth detention facility, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office. Francisco Ortiz, 22, Kansas City, Kan., was sentenced Wednesday for using his 16-year-old sister and other family members to deal drugs for him while he was awaiting sentencing in a federal drug trafficking case. Ortiz allegedly orchestrated deals by telephone while an inmate at the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center. In March 2005, Ortiz had entered into a plea agreement to one count of possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of methamphetamine. The agreement required him to cooperate with investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration. “What the defendant did not tell the DEA was that he was trafficking in drugs while he was incarcerated at the Corrections Corporation of America by using his 16-year-old sister,” Eric Melgren, U.S. attorney for Kansas, said in the release. “Nor did he tell DEA agents that he was orchestrating drug deals, obtaining profits and directing customers to meet with family members to make drug payments — all while incarcerated on the original charges.” Investigators retrieved the records of Ortiz’s telephone calls from CCA for April 2006 through July 2006. The records showed he had been engaging in multiple drug transactions through associates and family members who were not incarcerated, including his sister and his mother.

August 24, 2006 AP
A southern Iowa man has been convicted by a federal jury on charges he threatened the life of a federal judge. Christopher O. Myers, 41, of Ottumwa faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 5. Myers was initially charged in a three-count federal indictment, which alleged that he mailed threatening letters to Judge Linda Reade and a federal public defender in August 2005 from his prison cell at a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan. Reade, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, testified Monday that she took the threats seriously. "I think the general tenor of the letter suggested that Mr. Myers was threatening to kill me," she said. Court documents said Myers was in the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center, a privately run prison, which contracts with the federal government located in Leavenworth, Kan., when a white business-sized envelope was mailed to U.S. District Court in Des Moines addressed to Linda Reede, a misspelling of the judge's name.

August 21, 2006 AP
Federal Judge Linda Reade testified today that a southern Iowa man sent her a threatening letter shortly after she sentenced him to federal prison for threatening other judges and President Bush. "I think the general tenor of the letter suggested that Mr. Myers was threatening to kill me," Reade said on the witness stand in the trial of Christopher O. Myers. Myers, 41, of Ottumwa is charged in a three-count federal indictment, which alleges that Myers mailed threatening letters in August 2005 from his prison cell at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan. Court documents said Myers was in the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth Detention Center, a privately run prison, which contracts with the federal government located in Leavenworth, Kan., when a white business-sized envelope was mailed to U.S. District Court in Des Moines addressed to Linda Reede, a misspelling of the judge's name. Court documents say the return address included the name Chris Myers, a federal inmate number — 11921-030 — and the address of the CCA detention center in Leavenworth, Kan. The envelope contained eight pages that appeared to be two threatening letters and cover letter.

November 25, 2005 Leavenworth Times
A former Leavenworth man has been sentenced to life in federal prison for the murder of three Leavenworth people. A federal jury spared Demetrius R. Hargrove, 31, of the death penalty on Tuesday in Kansas City, Kan., according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office. Hargrove, who already is serving a 35-year federal prison sentence for kidnapping and a weapons violation, was found guilty Nov. 10 of three capital murder counts and one charge of conspiracy to kill a federal witness. The conviction came after a six-week trial. Two of the murder counts stem from the shooting deaths of Elmer Berg Jr. and Misty Castor, Leavenworth siblings. The third murder count stemmed from the July 25, 1998, death of Tyrone Richards. According to the news release from the U.S. attorney's office, Hargrove attempted to murder Kimbrel on Jan. 3, 1999. And on Dec. 31, 1998 and Jan. 1, 1999, Hargrove made telephone calls to other conspirators from the Corrections Corporation of America detention facility in Leavenworth to arrange the murder of Kimbrel.

April 12, 2005 Kansas City Star
Attorneys for federal kidnapping defendant Lisa Montgomery asked a judge Monday not to give prosecutors copies of four documents seized recently from her Leavenworth jail cell. Jailers searched her cell and took five documents last month. Officials at the Corrections Corporation of America jail then passed the material to the U.S. Marshals Service, which gave it to Chief Magistrate Judge John Maughmer. In a court filing, defense attorney Susan Hunt argued for withholding the records from prosecutors. “(Montgomery) asserts the documents must be returned to her, all copies destroyed and not provided to the government,” Hunt wrote. Hunt's motion contends that prosecutors have agreed that the letter to “Anita” should not be disclosed to federal authorities because it is addressed to Anita Burns, an assistant federal public defender, and thus covered by the attorney-client privilege. Montgomery's attorneys also contend that the Feb. 20 document should be covered by the attorney-client privilege. “This document was prepared by (Montgomery) pursuant to a request of Ron Ninemire, one of the (defense) investigators on this case,” Hunt wrote. “Mr. Ninemire, in one of his visits, requested (Montgomery) write down certain information for use by him and the attorneys in preparing this case.” The documents apparently turned up in a March 4 search.

September 27, 2002
Keith Gabriel was intially incarcerated at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where he was diagnosed as being HIV-positive.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons began immediately to provide Gabriel with medical treatment.  In 1988, he was transferred to another federal penitentiary.  His medical jacket was transferred with him and he continued to receive appropriate treatment for his HIV condition.  In 1990, he was transferred to a penitentiary run by the District of Columbia in Lorton.  That facility was operated by CCA under contract with that district.  When Gabriel was transferred to Lorton, his medical jacket was not transferred with him.  The medical history that was sent did not explicitly state that he was HIV-positive.  After he was moved to Lorton, Gabriel said he did not receive any further medical treatment until his HIV status was "rediscovered" in 1998.  He alleged that as a result of his failure to receive treatment, he suffered a decline in his T-cell count.  He also experienced the onset of premature dementia and depression.  He also contended that when CCA and the District were alerted to his HIV status, both failed to search for and obtain his medical jacket.  He also said CCA provided him with an improperly low dosage of one of the drugs he needed.  Gabriel filed suit against the Bureau of Prisons and CCA for negligence and medical malpractice.  The U.S. District Court, District of Columbia agreed with the bureau that BOP was not a state official acting under color of state law.  The CCA then asked for dismissal, saying it was not a proper defendant because it wasn't a public entity.   The company said it could not be held accountable in the same manner as a governmental organization.  The CCA also said Gabriel had not filed his claim within the required two years.  

August 14, 2000
A guard pleaded guilty to drug charges after he was caught delivering a half once of crack cocaine to an undercover officer.  The guard admitted to smuggling contraband into the prison for inmates. (AP, August 14, 2000)

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Shawnee County, Kansas
Prison Health Sservices

September 20, 2002 Shawnee County corrections director Betsy Gillespie said Thursday she was confident that jail medical and correctional staff members didn't make any errors causing the death of an inmate earlier this month. Roy Hardy III died Sept. 2 in the jail's custody. His family claims Hardy, who had a congenital heart defect, died because medical staff failed to provide him with his medication. Hardy-Smith declined to say whether the family plans a wrongful death suit against the jail, but any lawsuit likely would include Prison Health Services Inc., a Tennessee-based company specializing in correctional health care. The county entered a contract with the company in November 2001. The contract states PHS will cover court costs if inmates sue the county and the jail on health care issues. An almost complete turnover of medical staff ensued March 1, when PHS took over medical services. Only one nurse who previously worked for the county health agency remained. Daily dose Topekan Allen Stann was jailed for two days earlier this month for a traffic violation. Stann knew he had to do his time, but said he was upset because he didn't receive his medication, Celebrex, twice a day for arthritis. "It was like cruel and unusual punishment," he said. Stann did get Ibuprofen his first full morning at the jail and until his release. He said he went to the jail the week before serving his sentence to learn if he had to do anything to ensure he received his medication. "I even went in early the morning I checked in to make sure about it," he said. After his release, Stann said, he called the jail because he was concerned about other inmates. "I told them while I was in a lot of pain, it didn't kill me. But I said to them 'what if I had a serious illness and didn't get my medication. I could have died.' I said that to them and then found out about Mr. Hardy," he said. (Topeka Capitol Journal)  

Reno County Jail Annex
Reno, Kansas
MgtGp Inc.

January 8, 2004
Former Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie and Hutchinson attorney Gerald Hertach won't pay $750,000 in restitution sought by the state, a senior judge ruled Tuesday morning.  Instead, the case will be closed when the two have served their one-year jail sentences that end in January - Leslie on Saturday from the Saline County Jail and Hertach on Jan. 31 from the Rice County Jail.  (Hutch News)

September 17, 2003
With prospects for a negotiated settlement dimming, a senior judge set a trial date for Reno County's civil lawsuit against the former private operators of its jail annex.  Judge Michael Barbara set Oct. 29 as the start date in Reno County District Court for the county's bid to recover almost $750,000 in annex operations profits from MgtGp Inc., which operated the center for four years.  Former Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie and Hutchinson attorney Gerald Hertach were partners in MgtGp.  That alliance landed the two men in jail for a year on two counts of misdemeanor conflict of interest, for failing to disclose the contract.  Both men apparently are going to serve their one-year terms without offering a court-ordered plan to repay the county, a condition of parole.  In August, attorneys for the two men and Reno County said they were close to a negotiated settlement in the case.  Barbara gave the two sides 10 days to reach an agreement, a time frame that more than passed before the judge took action late last week.  Stan Hill, Reno County's counsel for the civil suit, offered no comment on the trial date Monday.  Efforts Monday to contact Leslie's attorney, Mike Gillespie, and Hertach's attorney, Steve Joseph, were unsuccessful.  Gillespie is handling the case from his new job with a Manhattan law firm, Seaton, Bell and Seaton.  Leslie and Hertach formed the partnership in 1997 to operate MgtGp and the annex.  The two men established dummy corporations in Nevada to route the annex profits back to their personal corporations in Kansas.  Leslie and Hertach were convicted in October 2002 of two counts of misdemeanor conflict of interest, the result of a plea bargain from 21 original counts of bribery.  Leslie's sentence expires Jan. 3, 2004; Hertach's 28 days later.  (The Hutchinson News)

January 10, 2003
Former Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie spent his first day as an inmate Friday, beginning his jail sentence for misdemeanor conflict of interest in the county jail annex scandal.  Leslie and his business partner, Hutchinson attorney Gerald Hertach, were convicted in October of misdemeanor conflict of interest.  The two men formed MgtGp Inc., a private company that ran the jail annex until late last year. Leslie, as an elected official, was required by Kansas law to divulge his "substantial interest" in MgtGp to Reno County commissioners.  (The Hutchinson News)

December 20, 2002
It came down to that old line from the film "Jerry Maguire."  "Show me the money."  So when Larry Leslie and Gerald Hertach wouldn't - or couldn't - the result was a year in jail for their illegal partnership as MgtGp Inc., running Reno County's jail annex.  The people wanting to see where Hertach and Leslie's share off about 570,000 in annex profits went were numerous.  And the two who mattered the most - Senior Judge Michael Barbara and prosecutor John Bork - didn't get any answers Wednesday in Reno County District Court.  "I wouldn't said it played the main role in my decision, but it played a role, of course," said Barbara, who sentenced the two men to jail terms for conflict of interest in the annex case.  "The 285,000 your client received from the annex profits - what happened to that?" Barbara asked Steve Joseph, representing Hertach.  "I don't know, your honor," Joseph replied.  Both times the men and their attorneys offered no direct explanation, instead raising general claims of financial ruin.  "Jerry doesn't have $750,000 or significant funds at all," his attorney said.  Gillespie had little to say Wednesday about Leslie's future, only noting that the former sheriff is close to bankruptcy.  Leslie isn't paying three creditors he owes a total of $46,000, the attorney said, and had $300 in monthly disposable income after he pays the rest.  Leslie will voluntarily surrender his law enforcement certification, Gillespie said.  And a case against Hertach's law license will be revived by the state's legal review board in Topeka, Joseph said, now that sentencing has been completed.  (The Hutchinson News)

December 19, 2002
In a prepared statement, Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall on Wednesday defended her decision to accept a plea bargain in the Larry Leslie-Gerald Hertach bribery case.  In the statement, issued by prosecutor John Bork, one of Stovall's assistants, the AG said the state's decision to accept two misdemeanor conflict-of-interest convictions "serves the interest of justice by ensuring a conviction and establishing restitution for the unlawful acts perpetrated by the defendants....  Stovall said the presumptive sentences in the original bribery cases filed against Leslie and Hertach would have been probation.  However, Senior Judge Michael Barbara, angered by the lack of a clear plan to repay $750,000 in annex profits to Reno County, sentenced the two men Wednesday to a year in jail on each of the conflict-of-interest counts.  The plea bargain came under local criticism as a slap on the two men's wrists.  District Attorney Keith Schroeder, whose office played a role in uncovering the allegations, said he will refuse to refer cases to Stovall's office as a result of the light deal.  (The Hutchinson News)

December 19, 2002
Larry Leslie and Gerald Hetach will begin the new year in jail, a senior judge ruled in Reno County District Court Wednesday afternoon.  How long they have to stay depends on whether they can come up with their share of an estimated $750,000 in restitution to Reno county, money "cheated" from local taxpayers in the private and illegal operation of the county's jail annex, Judge Michael Barbara ruled.  Leslie, 59, the former Reno County sheriff, and Hertach, 56, a Hutchinson attorney, were sentenced to a year in jail Wednesday - six months consecutively on each of two misdemeanor conflict-of-interest counts.  Both men were moved out of Reno County for security concerns, Barbara said.  The charges grew out of the two men's partnership in MgtGp Inc., a private firm that in 1997 obtained a contract to manage the jail annex - without divulging to the Reno county Commission that Leslie, then sheriff, was involved.  A clearly angry Barbara rejected pleas from the defense for probation in both cases, instead taking issue with the two men's refusal to provide plans to repay almost $750,000 in profits from the annex operation.  A year owed to the people of Reno County, Barbara said as he handed down the sentence.  "Counsel wondered today what good it would do to send these men to jail," the judge said.  "Well, a viable objective in the sentencing process is viable deterrents.  "Counsel has agreed that deceit was involved in this case - political not criminal.  But pure, deliberate greed was involved."  (The Hutchinson News)

November 27, 2002
By signing off at the last minute on a plea bargain agreement in the Reno County Jail Annex case, Attorney General Carla Stovall agreed Oct. 7 to toss out 21 felony bribery charges against three criminal defendants accused of bilking taxpayers out of $570,000. Instead of putting the facts before a jury, the lame duck attorney general accepted guilty pleas to two misdemeanors apiece and endorsed potentially meaningless promises of restitution from former Sheriff Larry Leslie, Hutchinson attorney Gerald Hertach and MgtGp Inc. The outrageous decision not only deepened this newspaper's disappointment with Stovall's job performance as attorney general, it also set three dreary precedents that could have undesirable long-term consequences on public policy in the Sunflower State. Different laws The Stovall-approved plea agreement shows that county sheriffs in Kansas, particularly those who have friends in high places, have the latitude to operate under a different set of laws than other public officials. KBI Director Larry Welch received documents tying Leslie to the illegal payment scheme in the summer of 1999. Yet Welch disgraced his position by failing to initiate an investigation of Leslie, a long-time friend, until prompted a second time - 18 months, 19 payments and $140,250 later – by outgoing Reno County District Attorney Tim Chambers. The U.S. Attorney's Office of Kansas took a similar hands-off attitude toward an FBI investigation. Coincidentally, Welch's son, Lanny, worked there during that time as the office's top criminal prosecutor. Chilling effect. Most of all, Stovall's decision to cut a deal with defendants Leslie-Hertach-MgtGp Inc. will have a chilling effect on government whistleblowers in Kansas. Consider that employees at the Reno County Sheriff's Department expressed the greatest frustration with the plea bargain. Several employees uncovered the scheme and tried to prompt an outside investigation. "I don't think he got near what he deserved," said Sherri Owston, the sheriff's office manager. Former Sheriff Leslie directed Owston to help him prepare invoices to bill Hertach for supposed jail consulting services. (Hutchinson News)

October 18, 2002
Four years of memories came flooding back this week in the Reno County Sheriff's Department.  Secretaries to deputies were stopped cold with disbelief when former Sheriff Larry Leslie pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of misdemeanor conflict of interest for collecting $285,000 from a partnership operating the county's jail annex.  Leslie had been charged with 21 counts of bribery.  Leslie and Hutchinson attorney Gerald Hertach, partners in MgtGp Inc., each face up to a year plus restitution and fines up to $820,000 for their role in the partnership.  "It's kind of made everyone relive the whole thing," Sheriff Randy Henderson said.  "Kind of back to the old thing that we can do something wrong and get by with it because of who we are.  The frustration with plea bargain, which likely will bring little or no jail time, was expressed by a couple of players in the Leslie story.  "I don't think he got near what he deserved," said Sherri Owston, the sheriff's office manager.  Owston was directed by Leslie to help him prepare invoices that were used to bill Hertach for almost $285,000 over the three years of their annex partnership.  "I was not at all happy about their decision to plead it down to a misdemeanor," said Howard Shipley, a detective who made the first late-night foray into Leslie's office to copy documents about the partnership.  "I think the original charge of bribery could have been proven.  We should have gone to court and let the jury make a decision on that."  "I am somewhat discouraged that the case did not go to trial in order for the whole truth to come out," said Capt. Dennis Radke, who heads the detective bureau.  There's also a consensus that Leslie let his officers and employees down by taking part in the  partnership.  (The Hutchinson News)

October 18, 2002
The business partners in a controversial deal to operate Reno County's jail annex entered guilty pleas Monday to misdemeanor conflict of interest charges.  The pleas by former Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie, Hutchinson attorney Gerald Hertach and the attorney's MgtGp Inc. short-circuited Monday's anticipated start of their trials on 21 bribery counts.  The plea deal also includes a "joint or separate" agreement to pay Reno County $750,000 in restitution.  The conviction falls under Kansas statue 75-4304 (b), which prohibits entering into any contract "where any local government officer or employee, acting in that capacity, is a signatory to or a participant in the making of the contract and is employed by or has a substantial interest in the person or business."  (Hutch News.com)

July 2, 2002
The bribery trial for former Sheriff Larry Leslie and his alleged business partners will remain in Reno County District Court, a judge ruled Tuesday.  Leslie, Hertach and MgtGp each face 21 counts of bribery.  The charges allege that Hertach paid Leslie almost $285,000 over three years in exchange for Leslie's recommendation that MgtGp run the county's jail annex.  (The Hutchinson News)

June 03, 2001
Reno County commissioners filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Sheriff Larry Leslie and the private firm hired to run the county jail annex, seeking repayment of more than $500,000 in profits they claim the two have split since 1998.  Commissioners also asked a judge to terminate the county's four-year, $2 million contract with MgtGp Inc., signed in January 2000.  Leslie is charged with accepting more than $280,000 in bribes from MgtGp Inc. secretary Gerald Hertach in exchange for persuading commissioners to hire the company.  Hertach is also named in the lawsuit.  Leslie had an obligation to disclose any business relationship between himself and MtgGp Inc. when he recommended the contract, County Counselor Joe O'Sullivan said Wednesday.  "The defendant's silence when they had the duty to speak constituted a fraud upon the plaintiffs," the suit alleges.  Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall contends that Leslie accepted payments ranging from $4,000 to $15,625 between June 1998 and January 2001.  The county's suit claims the alleged payments were routed through a series of Kansas and Nevada corporations, each of which is either owned or operated by Hertach or Leslie.  The lawsuit alleges that Leslie and Hertach "negotiated and agreed to a proposal whereby Hertach would present, and Leslie would recommend, a management agreement to the plaintiff for the minimum security facility."  (The Wichita Eagle)

May 19, 2001
Fellow law officers and a county commissioner said Tuesday they are shocked that Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie has been implicated in a bribery scheme that authorities say involves more than $280,000.  Leslie, who was elected sheriff in 1992, was arrested Monday and charged with 34 counts of bribery.  He's accused of accepting $284,875 from a Hutchinson lawyer and, in return, influencing county commissioners to hire MgtGp Inc., the private company that handles the daily operations of the annex, authorities said.  Commissioner Francis "Shep" Schoepf said Leslie advised the commission in 1998 that entering into an agreement with MgtGp Inc. would save money.  The alternative was to hire more county employees to run the new annex, he said.  The county in January awarded MgtGp Inc. a new four-year contract worth $612,000 this year alone, according to the county.  Schoepf said he "completely trusted" Leslie's judgement.  "It seemed like he was giving us good advice," Schoepf said.  "When I heard about the charges, I was absolutely floored.  I have had so much faith in that guy."  According to court records, Leslie is accused of accepting $284,875 in 34 payments from June 1998 to last January.  The largest payment -- $15,625 -- was allegedly made on July 15, 1999, court records show.  (The Wichita Eagle)

May 17, 2001
The private company at the center of the bribery case against Reno County Sheriff Larry Leslie was incorporated just 13 days before the county awarded it a contract worth more than $1.5 million to run a jail annex in 1997, according to state records.  But county officials said Wednesday they weren't concerned with the newness of the company because Leslie vouched for one of its owners, who had experience running a dormitory for nonviolent offenders.  Leslie, 57, pleaded innocent to 34 counts of bribery at his first appearance before a district judge Wednesday.  Hutchinson lawyer Gerald Hertach, treasurer and co-founder of MgtGp Inc., which operates the annex, also pleaded innocent to charges that he bribed the sheriff.  The company also is named as a defendant.  Leslie is accused of accepting more than $280,000 from Hertach from June 1998 to last January.  Leslie, who is still on the job, earns $59,672 a year as sheriff.  It's also a unique relationship, said Darrell Wilson, executive director of the Kansas Association of Sheriffs.  He knows of no other county in the state that contracts with a private company to run part of its jail.  MgtGp Inc. is still operating the annex, County Administrator Ed Williams said.  

Wyandotte County Jail
Wyandotte, Kansas

August 28, 2004
The Wyandotte County sheriff closed the county jail's kitchen for 24 hours after an inspection revealed sanitary and storage problems.  Joe Connor, county health director, said the problems were discovered Thursday in an annual inspection of the juvenile detention center. Part of that inspection was the food service area, which also serves adult inmates.  Brad Ratliff, a spokesman for the sheriff, said the health violations included the buildup of grease and the improper storage of items in the kitchen, which serves about 450 inmates.  The department has a three-year contract with Aramark Inc. to operate the kitchen. The company, which is paid about $669,000 annually, is responsible for the cleaning.  (Kansas City)