Security officers at work-release facility say they lack training, voice concerns about safety

Company: All personnel use 'best practices'

INDIANAPOLIS - Security officers inside a Marion County corrections facility are concerned about their safety and the people they've been hired to watch.

Security officers that work at the Duvall Residential Center say they are not trained to protect themselves from violence or lawsuits.

"I know stuff, but that's not the stuff I should be using in a confrontation at the workplace," said Tony Young, a wrestling coach who wrestles with how to deal with unruly residents at the Duvall Residential Center.
    
Young said he lacks basic self-defense training, which would protect him and tax payers from a frivolous lawsuit.

"They know they haven't given us that training, but they'll tell you you're going to get that training when you get there," Young said.

Young has worked at Duvall since 2010, and he said he's still waiting for the training he was promised.

His employer is Securatex.

The Chicago-based company provides the security guards at the work-release center, which has at least 350 beds.

Duvall is mainly for non-violent men who can leave to work or attend school while under court supervision.

The Call 6 investigators reviewed the discipline records of the people who call the place home.

Internal records show a facility not out of control, though a small number are reprimanded for breaking the rules.

The Call 6 Investigators have spoken with other guards who left Securatex expressing concern about high employee turnover and having to buy their own handcuffs and not being trained on how to use them.

Steven Woods was surprised that as a former sandwich delivery driver, he was promoted to sergeant over people with more experience.

"You kind of just shadow and learn what you can," Woods said. "If something doesn't come up, you don't get trained on it."

"Securatex meets the training standard requirements set by our contracts," said company President and CEO Patricia J. DuCanto. "In some instances we raise the bar and go above and beyond the training required… All of our security personnel use best practices in carrying out the performance of their duties."

The company also blames the complaints on a group seeking to unionize the employees.

DuCanto told RTV6 that the Service Employees International Union has "been on a smear campaign" against Securatex for the past two years.

In response to the company's statement, the Service Employees International Union issued a statement saying that many workers from Chicago and Indianapolis have come forward with accounts of negligence and mismanagement by Securatex.

"Officers are organizing a union for better training standards, wages and benefits, but those who are speaking out are doing so with fear that they will be retaliated against," the union's statement read. "These are serious allegations and workers are speaking out because they are concerned about their safety, the people they protect and the community."

The union also reported that 71 percent of Securatex officers surveyed said they'd received fewer than eight hours of training before starting work, but the statement did not specify how many officers were surveyed.

The leadership at Marion County Community Corrections declined to be interviewed for this story.
     
Sources said that, behind closed doors, people are concerned about Securatex. Their contract doesn't expire until July 2013.

 

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