Senator Hansen Requests Independent Review

of Green Bay Correctional Institution

Concerns center on recent attacks and officer and staff safety


(Madison)—Citing recent attacks at the Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) sent a letter to Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher requesting an independent review be done “of the GBCI to identify and correct the changes in policy and the environment within the institution that may have contributed to what appears to be a dangerous trend of more brazen assaults against officers and staff.”


“Seeing what has been happening in the GBCI I am alarmed at what appears to be an increasingly dangerous environment for officers and staff,” said Hansen, who along with Senator Jon Erpenbach, has introduced legislation aimed at improving work and safety conditions in the state’s prisons.


In less than a year there have been three attacks on staff and correctional officers, including physical assaults, stabbings and the throwing of boiling water on an officer that have resulted in significant injuries.


Senator Hansen, who has met with Secretary Litscher to discuss concerns raised by corrections officers from Green Bay and other institutions, said he believes the Secretary is also concerned about improving conditions inside GBCI and the other correctional institutions. 


“When I’ve spoken with him he seems genuinely concerned with the safety and moral of our officers and staff.  I hope he will take the concerns that have been raised in response to the attacks at GBCI to heart and make changes to create a safer workplace there and throughout the system.”


Among concerns raised after the most recent attack that sent an officer to the Milwaukee Burn Center are the lack of working radios that may have delayed a lockdown of the prison and lack of blind spot mirrors that some say might have helped prevent the most recent attack.


Senator Hansen also renewed his call for officers and staff to be included in decisions regarding workplace safety. 


“Those on the front lines who risk their lives every day to keep us safe have a greater understanding of what is needed to keep them safe in the performance of their duties.”


UPDATE:  After receiving the letter, Secretary Litscher called Senator Hansen’s office to say the department would look into his concerns.


“I appreciate the call and quick response from Secretary Litscher and I trust him when he says he will look into this.  Our officers and staff deserve the safest possible workplace.”