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Staff Say Farewell at Closing of Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility

by KDOC News — last modified Mar 22, 2017 04:48 PM
Staff of Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) said goodbye as the doors of the facility were permanently closed Friday, March 3. The facility capable of housing 128 male youth stood empty that afternoon.


MEDIA ADVISORY

March 3, 2017                                                          

Contact:
Todd Fertig
KDOC Communications Director
785-296-5695         

Staff Say Farewell at Closing of Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility 

Staff of Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) said goodbye as the doors of the facility were permanently closed on March 3. The facility capable of housing 128 male youth stood empty that afternoon.

The remainder of the declining number of juveniles housed by the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) at Larned were recently transferred to the State’s sole correctional facility for youth, the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka. The state has seen a decline in the number of incarcerated juveniles by about 35 percent since 2010.

The facility employed about 140 full-time workers. The decision to close the facility was announced in July of 2016.

Staff of the facility gathered to express their feelings about the closing and to say goodbye to their co-workers. KDOC Secretary Joe Norwood and Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Services Terri Williams attended the ceremony and reception. They expressed their appreciation to the Larned community, as well as surrounding towns, for their support of the facility over the years. Williams thanked the staff for their service and stated she understood how difficult the process of closing had been on them.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the staff and leadership at LJCF,” Williams said. “Closing a facility is a challenge logistically, and the work is compounded by the fact people are feeling emotions about it, as well as the need for most to find a new place of employment. They handled it admirably.”

Williams specifically praised LJCF Superintendent Wendy Leiker for her leadership throughout the process.

“I have been to many leadership classes and have had several mentors, but one of the things that no one can teach you is how to close a facility,” Leiker told the staff. “They cannot teach you how to say goodbye. This experience has changed me and has helped me to become a more compassionate leader. Thank you for letting me be your leader. You are still a part of my family and I will always be there for you.”

KDOC staff both at LJCF and at the Central Office in Topeka worked diligently to assist employees to find other employment, with the state if they so desired.

“The LJCF staff pulled together as a family to help each other out with job leads, resume building, mock interviews, advocating for each other and supporting each other,” Williams said. “We continue to work to place as many staff as possible, and to ensure that all the staff is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve for their outstanding service.”

    Deputy Secretary Terri Williams and LJCF Superintendent Wendy Leiker.       

     LJCF and KDOC Staff release balloons.

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