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Events At State Penitentiary Under Review

April 15, 2011, 6:02 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Events At State Penitentiary Under Review
Governor Dennis Daugaard says the final report on this week's attempted escape from the South Dakota Penitentiary will be made public.

Sixty-three-year-old correctional officer Ron Johnson was killed Tuesday when two inmates tried to break out of the prison.

The tragic events that unfolded at the South Dakota State Penitentiary this week are now under review. The Department of Corrections is taking a hard look at it's policies and procedures.

State Senator Joni Cutler who is the vice-chair of the judiciary committee and the legislature's executive board is asking that lawmakers also look into the Department of Corrections procedures.

"I think its entirely appropriate for the legislature to have the information we need as far as our part in setting policy or changing laws, so that the public is safe and our employees, our public employees are safe. I think that's entirely appropriate," Cutler said.

Cutler is asking that the executive board to gather information about the events that happened at the penitentiary.

"It's just really important that everyone does their best, including anyone who has anything to do with setting policy or accountability for having the right measures in place," Cutler said.

But, she's not the only one keeping an eye on the Department of Corrections review.

"We talked briefly about looking into what we can find as far as national standards," Paul Aylward said.

Aylward is the executive director of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. He also recently served on the state corrections commission. He says he's going to research the standards when it comes to correctional officers supervising inmates, and pass the information along to current members of the commission.

"And anything that would pertain to maybe make it safer for people who work in prisons," Aylward said.

Because they don't want to see the events that unfolded this week to happen again.

Daugaard expects the entire report about the attempted escape to be complete within the next month.

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