Pendleton administrators defend new policy - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Pendleton administrators defend new policy

Posted: Updated:
Tipsters say it took nearly 15 minutes for help to arrive for guard Brandi Gilland. Tipsters say it took nearly 15 minutes for help to arrive for guard Brandi Gilland.
Brett Mize, superintendent at the Pendleton Correctional Facility Brett Mize, superintendent at the Pendleton Correctional Facility

Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Pendleton - There are renewed concerns over staff safety at an Indiana prison as more reports of violent attacks filter out.

The latest victim is a maintenance worker at the Pendleton Correctional Facility stabbed in an open courtyard Monday morning. It's the second assault at the maximum security facility in two weeks.

13 Investigates the violence and fallout over efforts to keep it quiet.

"It is an isolated incident." That's how Brett Mize, the superintendent at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, characterized the beating of a 30-year-old female prison guard. But what exactly did he mean?

The December 17th attack took place inside a unit where some of the worst inmates are jailed.
Mize says inmate Rico Comer retaliated against the guard for writing him up.

But just three hours before the superintendent sat down to talk safety with 13 Investigates, he was investigating the stabbing of his maintenance supervisor in the prison yard.

The worker suffered ten puncture wounds to his leg and lower body from a shank. The offender is a 49-year-old "lifer" from Marion County.

Yet Mize failed to disclose that information during the interview or as our cameras ventured into the yard.

But he offered reassurances. "The main thing that we want to do is to make sure that every staff member here is safe. And when they went home at the end of the day, they could go home with no injuries or anything like that," he said.

Armed with inside tips, 13 Investigates prompted the release of the stabbing details and this statement from the prison's public information officer:

"There was no attempt to withhold information. We were still involved in an on-going investigation of the incident. The injuries were not significant. The worker actually returned to the facility."

The offender, 49-year-old Jeffrey Treadway, was convicted in the October 2005 robbery and beating death of an 82-year-old Indianapolis dance instructor.

Insiders tell Eyewitness News Treadway has a history of troublesome conduct and should have never been out. But prison officials say yard officers are on the grounds to monitor inmates. They defend a policy change that now requires a lone security guard to shake down inmates in their cells. There's no longer another guard serving as back up in the control room.

But Mize doesn't see that as a problem. "We have cameras that watch both sides of the units at all times that monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he explained.

But tipsters say it took nearly 15 minutes for help to arrive for guard Brandi Gilland. She was able to mace the inmate and flee to safety.

The stabbing of the maintenance worker remains under investigation.

Both inmates involved in the attacks have been transferred out of the facility.

The maintenance worker was treated at an Anderson hospital and returned to work. Guard Brandi Gilland is scheduled to report to a non-inmate unit Tuesday night.

Powered by WorldNow