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Union Leader Says Thomson Prison Warden Removed Measures That Protected Employees

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File
AP Photo

Please be advised, this story includes some graphic, adult language not suitable for children. According to their union leader, Thomson prison employees are no longer protected from inmates who expose and sexually gratify themselves in front of workers.

Please be advised, this story includes some graphic, adult language not suitable for children (especially the audio version).

Jon Zumkehr is the President of Local 4070 of the American Federation of Government Employees. He says a relatively small number of inmates have been intentionally exposing themselves to prison workers, and attempting to ejaculate on them when employees deliver food or medicine.

Last year, the prison installed window coverings on cells and placed limits on prisoner accounts to prevent the behavior. But when the current warden removed those protections, Zumkehr says the number of incidents increased from around a dozen per month to 46 in November.

The Bureau of Prisons declined WVIK's request for an interview. But the agency responded in writing in an email message, saying:

Bureau of Prisons

  • The bureau and Thomson prison share "the concerns about the frequency of instances where incarcerated individuals are exposing themselves to employees and engaging in sexual self-gratification. This sort of behavior is reprehensible and can have a damaging impact on law enforcement officers who already work in a challenging environment."
  • Thomson "provides training annually to all staff regarding strategies for addressing inmate sexual misconduct."
  • The Bureau of Prison statement also acknowledges "the number of incidents with individuals engaging in these behaviors has been higher. In response, additional measures have been implemented."
Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.
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