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Portion of prison's electric fence down for months

Months after a riot in a Cameron prison, more issues come to light.

Posted: Jul 11, 2018 8:32 PM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 1:58 PM

(CAMERON, Mo.) A portion of an electric fence was down for months, according to Department of Corrections employees.

A prison riot at Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron caused massive damage in May. But DOC staff said the riot is just one sign of a widespread sickness.

The employees asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs. They told KQ2 News, they are concerned for prison staff and the community.

Employees provided internal prison documents from Crossroads. The documents catalog daily events. One event that pops up on the log, from as early as May 11 until July 10, was “Electric Fence Zone #2 Remains offline.”

The spokesperson for the Department, Karen Pojmann, said she had not previously heard about the security issue but would call and ask the prison about it.

“I don’t know where that’s coming from and I don’t know whether our security staff is aware of it,” she said.

Pojmann also said she could not say whether it was an issue known at the department level.

“I can only speak for myself at this point,” she said. “I don’t know if the division directors or the security team is aware of it.”

KQ2 sources said they were worried that inmates knew about the broken fence. Crossroads has been on lock down since the riot in May.

According to the Department, a staffing shortage caused the incident. Statewide the Department said it has about 700 vacancies for corrections officers.

Back in May, we spoke to former corrections officer Chris Patti.

“You’re creating a pressure cooker,” he said. Patti worked in Cameron’s correctional facilities for more than two years. He said the inmates’ movements are restricted when there is not enough staff to watch them.

Current employees are worried the pressure chamber is full again.
KQ2 sources said the staffing issue is not better than it was in May.

Sources said they can hear the bomb ticking. It’s a prison understaffed bursting at its seams with angry inmates.

The match? Employees said the lock down is lifting.

According to Pojmann, the prison is on a “modified lock down.”

Employees told KQ2, the more privileges the inmates get, the more danger everyone is in.

“They are fed up,” Patti said. “And they are scared.”

Wednesday evening anonymous sources reached out to KQ2 and said the fence is now fixed.

The full phone interview with the department’s spokesperson is attached here.

This article has been updated to clarify the Department of Corrections has "700 vacancies for corrections officers" statewide not just in Cameron, Mo.

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