The Atwater federal prison in California has a new warden on the way in and its most dangerous inmates on the way out, reports the Merced Sun-Star. Both changes may lead to safer conditions at the high-security complex where a corrections officer was stabbed to death in June. U.S. Rep. Dennis Cardoza and prison officials say the measures should address safety issues, not just in Atwater, but across the country. Stab-resistant vests have been ordered for correctional offers, and there have been calls for increased staffing and nonlethal weapons, such as Tasers or batons.
There were two more violent outbursts in prisons this week: a correctional officer at the Coleman prison in Florida was stabbed 15 times by an inmate who ground Plexiglas into a sharp weapon; an officer at Big Sandy in Kentucky was stabbed five times. Next year, the federal prison system will begin transferring the system’s most dangerous inmates to an East Coast compound, prison spokeswoman Tracy Billingsley said. Officials have begun classifying the inmates and deciding which ones should be transferred to U.S. Penitentiary Lewisburg in Pennsylvania. The high-security prison will be converted into a “special management unit,” which has stricter restrictions. Smaller groups of prisoners are allowed in the recreation yards, and all inmate visits with friends and relatives are conducted through glass windows. People in Tucson, Seattle and Illinois areas that host federal prisons have contacted a community group formed after the California incident to get help in starting a local chapter.