Lawmaker: Some prison radios didn't work during attack

Associated Press

July 29, 2016


ALLOUEZ A state senator says some radios didn't work at Green Bay's maximum security prison the day a corrections officer was attacked.

State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, is requesting an independent review of problems at the Green Bay Correctional Institution in Allouez.

"It is my understanding that corrections officers may not hear radio calls up to 50 percent of the time," Hansen said.

In a letter to state Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher, Hansen is also calling for immediate purchase of equipment to improve employees' safety, such as working radios and "blind-spot mirrors."

Authorities say officer John McKee suffered second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body when an inmate attacked him with a five-gallon pot of boiling water July 18. A fundraising website for McKee's family says he is being treated in a burn unit in a Milwaukee hospital and will need extensive skin grafts.

The prison remains on lockdown, and the attack is being investigated. State officials say measures they've taken to improve staffing levels at the prison are having a positive effect.

"Secretary Litscher has made the safety and security of staff, inmates and visitors in DOC facilities his top priority," spokesman Tristan Cook said in an email.

Corrections officials say the inmate accused in the attack was transferred to Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage shortly after the assault.

The Department of Corrections says that state prisons averaged nearly 250 assaults on staff in 2014 and 2014. More than 90 of them resulted in injuries.