Security Concerns At Blackburn Prison in Lexington

It's a minimum security facility, with what some call a major issue.

In Kentucky, there are 16 state prisons. Blackburn Correctional Complex, in Lexington, is one four minimal security prisons in the state.

But many who work there say they're fed up, because the prison has serious security and safety problems.

Blackburn may be a minimum security prison, however, that doesn't mean prisoners are not a concern.

Four prisoners have walked away from Blackburn so far this year. That's down from years before but some correctional officers say it not surprising, considering the conditions officers are forced to work in.

The Blackburn Correctional Complex has operated from its Lexington location since 1972. Since then, several homes have gone up around the institution.

Warden Joe Rion says Blackburn's number one priority is public safety.

But according to one employee, "there's no security at Blackburn at this point."

The concern is about what's going on behind the prison walls.

Several correctional officers are raising the issue of mandatory over time in an understaffed prison, calling it, "a public safety issue."

Another officer says at times there can be as few as five to six officers on hand for as many as 600 inmates.

Warden Rion admits the prison is understaffed, but says it's nothing to worry about.

Two correctional officers who talked to 27 NEWSFIRST say the staff is at its last end. They go on to say they're working five doubles shifts at times anywhere from 15 to 18 hours.
18 hours

Warden Rion says, "If somebody works that much it's by choice." But when asked if that's in the best interest of community and security Rion says "it's not an ideal situation.

A situation the some correctional officers say the inmates are hipped to. They worry is that could lead to chaos in the community especially Masterson Station, a nearby subdivision.

"It's better to have someone work overtime even if they are tired than to not have any one at the post. We're not in a business where we can put a close sign up and turn out the lights."

Even with lights on some correctional officers worry about the worse thing that could happen within the walls of Blackburn.

So far this year, the Department of Corrections has paid more than 280 thousand dollars in overtime to correctional officers.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by louisville Location: kentucky on Jan 12, 2008 at 02:02 PM
    It is my understanding it all has been given to a outside agency for investigation. I hope after it is done, I am one of the jurors, either criminal or civil.
  • by holy Location: moly on Jan 5, 2008 at 09:18 AM
    I've read most of these blogs and I've got some comments about what I consider the high points. Why stay if you're that miserable? Why leave if there's only 1 or 2 problems that could be fixed if people would just pull thier head out of thier a--es in Frankfort?Everything else is honorable about what we do and not everyone can do it. Besides, who has the time to look when you're working all those doubles and just want to rest when you're not?And is it fair to the vetswho've been there for years and have thier retirement to consider, are they expected to just leave? Who's sticking up for them? And for those who do leave, they were never going to stay very long anyway.BCC was just a stop on thier way to better things.Want some help that's gonna stick around?Bring back testing, raise the salary AND the hiring age to,say,25. That'll weed out some of the idiots that give the rest of us bad names.These people call in and make the rest of us have to pull more than our share of the work.
  • by Dear Anonymous on Jan 2, 2008 at 04:35 PM
    Hey concerned_citizen, try to keep "Pace" will ya? There is no need to hunt witches. Have a tom "Collins" and relax a little. You guys keep firing up your computers at BCC and we will all enjoy the results of your discovery. We might all even party down in Georgetown.
  • by concerned_citizen Location: Blackburn on Dec 29, 2007 at 05:04 PM
    This is to Dear Anonymous....Lets talk about using inmate labor, 1 officer and about 6 inmates to move, If you haven't guessed who I am then continue to carry the witch hunt!!.
  • by funny on Dec 27, 2007 at 08:23 PM
    Can someone tell me, in all honesty, why it is that almost everyone who has filed a sexual harrassment claim AGAINST someone at BCC in the last 6 months has either been demoted or fired? Can anyone tell me why W1, W2 and I.A are able to promote their buddies from other institutions and take away the postions from others at BCC just to do this? Look, I'm not here to cause problems or start fights. People are on here wanting answers and all they get when they attempt to, is the run around.If you're going to be in a postion of authority, you need to learn to lead by example. People will follow. You need to give your employees incentive to want to come to work and do a good job. Morale is so low because everyone has given up. They either feel worthless or they feel as though it's a dead end. Once you get a warden at BCC that cares about his employees and isn't about the "hug a thug" program, then you'll see greatness.
  • by Dear anonymous on Dec 27, 2007 at 09:45 AM
    Isn't Warden Haney dealing with his own misconduct right now? I would wager that you are the "other party" involved. I guess you think Haney is fair, if you are one of the exempt "pets" who sat in his office and ate pizza while watching NCAA basketball games last March, while on the job. If I were you I would sooo leave that alone. Hey concern_citizen, thanks for revealing your true motive for complaining. You got caught doing wrong and received discipline for it and now you cry. Here's a novel idea for you, go to work, do your job and stay out of trouble. Bet you would enjoy your job and life a lot more. I doubt Warden Rion or Deputy Warden Long want to keep you around. You don't get dismissed for a reprimand but there is a process called progressive discipline that will take care of staff, such as you, who do not learn from their mistakes. I'd be willing to bet that you have already done something else stupid and have been corrected for it or are going to be.
  • by anonymous on Dec 27, 2007 at 06:04 AM
    Overtime is an unfortunate situation in all institutions, it does not matter who the warden is. The problem is that salaries for Correctional Officers needs to be raised to increase retention. However, the rules should apply to all staff and the "pets" should not be exempt. Those who have complained about Warden Haney should realize he is one of the fairest people around and an exceptional Warden.
  • by concerned_citizen Location: Lexington on Dec 21, 2007 at 12:44 AM
    Dear Get a Life.....some of us has tried to continue of career serving the people of this state. If it was not for the wrongful reprimands placed upon us from statements made an officer that was having sex with a inmate, we may have been able to transfer to another institution. It seems that Warden Rion and Warden LOng wanted to keep me around for some reason. Perhaps they thought I was a good Officer, but needed to reprimand me to keep me from leaving. What do you think??
  • by Get a Location: Life on Dec 19, 2007 at 06:40 AM
    Concerned -citizen, yes, looks like this is dead in the water. Get a life and a new job if applicable.
  • by concerned_citizen Location: Lexington on Dec 18, 2007 at 10:40 PM
    I am afraid that this has DIED!!!! Please tell me it has not DIED!!! Besides the Labor Laws violated, criminal charges need to be brought against those frauding, wasting and stealing taxpayers money. If you are concerned, please contact me at concerned_citizen@adelphia.net. We need to get the AG's office involved. If the new administration does not elect to prosecute, then atleast a formal investigation needs to be conducted. PS thanks to all those in support of a change!!!!!!!

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