Corrections Secretary Roberts Addresses the U.S. Department of Justice Report on Topeka Correctional Facility
September 7, 2012
Jeremy Barclay, KDOC/JJA
Special Assistant/Communications Director
Corrections Secretary Roberts addresses the U.S. Department of Justice report on Topeka Correctional Facility
Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) Secretary Ray Roberts addressed at Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report that was released on Thursday, September 6 concerning the misconduct that occurred at TCF.
“The DOJ three-day audit which occurred in May 2011 does not account for the strides and successes that the Topeka Correctional Facility has made over the past 16 months. There is no disputing that there were horrible incidents that occurred in 2007 and 2008, and changes had to be made, but our responsibility to correct these issues began on day one and has continued every day. Governor Brownback has zero tolerance for inmate abuses. We have not been waiting for this report’s release over a year later,” Secretary Ray Roberts said.
Among the many ways that the facility has enhanced security at the TCF:
- Increased use of cameras. Increased the number of cameras from 250 cameras to 350 cameras and will have 380 cameras installed by the end of 2012. Video footage can now be retained for a minimum of 120 days as opposed to the previous 30 days. Also, increased number of staff with monitoring capabilities.
- PREA Coordinator. Hired a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Coordinator in January 2012 to increase the oversight of PREA investigations and quality assurance of investigative reports.
- Training and Materials. Increased training and materials for staff, volunteers, and inmates on sexual abuse, gender responsivity, and undue familiarity.
- PREA Hotline. Increased visibility and availability of the facility PREA Hotline through posters, flyers, and inmate orientation.
- TCF Administration. The Warden, Deputy Warden, and other facility staff have changed to a new administration at the facility since the mid-2011.
- Additional New Staffing. Governor Brownback proposed funding 10 additional TCF correctional officer positions at a cost of $440,000, as proposed in the original NIC audit. That bill was approved and signed.
“The federal Bureau of Prisons conducted a site visit in both February 2011 and March 2012, and made a favorable report on the conditions of our facility during each visit. The officers and employees that are in place at this time are hard-working, dedicated staff who have pushed forward safety and security developments daily,” Warden Hope Cooper said.
The Department of Corrections will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure all inmates in the Kansas correctional system are kept in a safe and secure environment.