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Lawton Prison Warden Speaks on Recent Violence

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LAWTON Okla_ Despite two recent violent incidents at the GEO prison in Lawton, Warden Hector Rios said their crime rate is not out of the ordinary.

Monday, Rios spoke to a group of Cameron Criminal Justice students. He spoke about being a correctional officer and the responsibilities that come with it. He said safety is biggest priority in any prison.

In the wake of a recent brutal beating and a stabbing behind the GEO prison walls, Rios said he is responding by "slowing things down". This means the entire prison is put on lockdown, and the faculty meets to re-evaluate safety measures.

With over 2,500 inmates, there is no question about whether or not there will be violence. Warden Rios said the key to combating it as efficiently as possible is for the prison's intelligence units to be in constant communication with their outside counterparts, like the sheriff and the DOC.

Rios said what happens on the outside directly influences the type of violence that happens on the inside, especially when it comes to gang violence.

Warden Rios said in the event of an inmate being involved in an altercation, the family will only be contacted if the person's injury is life-threatening. Otherwise, security and confidentiality within the walls are compromised.

Warden Rios said when it comes to crime within a prison, communication is a major factor. Inmates plot and plan when they're talking in the yard or while they're eating. They also communicate with inmates in other prisons. He said slowing down suspicious inmates' communication capabilities often slows down crime.

If something does happen, as it did twice just this past week, Warden Rios said the response time for correctional officers to arrive to an incident is minutes, sometimes even seconds.

Rios also said shake downs happen every day. They're looking for homemade tools and weapons, and they find them all the time.

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