Missouri Corrections Officers say prison assaults are up and inmates are getting away with it.
We’re hearing reports not only from, Corrections` Officers, but also inmates, that you can attack someone inside a prison with no consequences.
Farmington Corrections’ supervisor Joni Light told us, “Is it going to take someone dying for them to change this?!” Light remembers warning her Department about an inmate becoming aggressive with untrained staff. She added, “Within a matter of two weeks he stabbed another offender.”
Light is one of nearly a dozen officers interviewed by the Fox Files who claim the Department of Corrections often won`t hold inmates accountable.
Former Lt. Lawrence Slape told me, “Now if you and me went into somebody`s house and assaulted them, we`d go to prison.”
Slape said he had to quit because he could no longer justify letting inmates get away with violence.
He said, “They don`t get extra time. None of that ever gets brought out.”
A former inmate says prisoners know they can even get away with assaulting an officer - as long as they don`t use a weapon. He told me, “If you flat just beat him up with your fists, no, they`re not going to prosecute you.”
Reporter Hayes followed up, “Why not?”
He answered, “I guess they don`t want the backlog.
The Fox Files obtained insider assault reports from officers concerned that D.O. C. is “failing to act.” We`ve been given the names of 11 inmate attackers whose identities we are concealing because they reportedly attack for attention.
An inmate explained, “What they call stripes, cause now you`re known for beating up a Correctional Officer.”
One insider report we obtained documents attackers that have “not been referred for prosecution” and in some cases “not disciplined internally.”
A D.O.C. spokesperson wrote in response "I'm afraid we can't discuss specific cases..."
Former Major William Vallier told me, “We`re doing them a disservice by minimizing it or saying it didn`t happen.”
Vallier was Chief of all Corrections’ Officers at Algoa in Jefferson City. He says he left last month because he could not go along with D.O.C.`s policy of downplaying riots and assaults.
He said, “You’re minimizing this - `This person was injured with non-life-threatening injuries…` when it turned out their orbital socket was broken and some facial bones were broken by an inmate assault. It`s like saying `my wife was assaulted, but it`s really not that big of a deal.`”
Vallier says the workplace culture is one of several reasons corrections officers are quitting in droves.