Non-profit calls on Lawton Correctional Facility to provide more protection for inmates, officers

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Loved ones of inmates in the Lawton Correctional Facility are writing to the Department of Justice, calling for change when it comes to the facility’s safety and security policies.

It all started with Emily Shelton.

Her husband is an inmate at the Lawton Correctional Facility.

She started contacting families who have loved ones in the facility to take a stand.

Violence, stabbings, and murders.

Shelton said it happens too often at the Lawton Correctional Facility.

And not just to inmates. Correctional officers are in danger, too.

“This is my worst nightmare. It really is. My husband’s still got 17 years,” Shelton said. “My son’s doing a 25 year sentence. Only been in four years. This is my life. Every night I worry if I’m going to get woken up with a phone call that I don’t want.”

Shelton and others take part in a support group for those who have loved ones in the facility.

After officials at the facility wouldn’t take action, she started asking them to write letters to send to the DOJ, asking for an investigation into the facility’s practices and policies.

“We’re not saying everybody deserves to be out of prison. I mean, we’re realistic. There are some that don’t, but they still deserve to be treated like a human being. They’re taking their life away, taking them away from their family, making them do a sentence, being totally away from society,” Shelton said. “They’re already being punished. Don’t make it worse for them.”

In a statement to 7NEWS, the GEO group said, “For over two decades, we have safely and securely managed the Lawton Correctional Facility, providing high quality support services, including 24/7 access to healthcare and enhanced in-custody rehabilitation programming. We take the safety of those in our care, as well our staff and members of the community, with the utmost seriousness and strive to follow the highest levels of safety and security standards, including those set by the State of Oklahoma and the American Correctional Association. While we are unable to provide specific details regarding incidents that are under investigation, we work closely with the Office of Inspector General and appropriate law enforcement agencies with the respect to the circumstances surrounding such incidents.”

Farren Yust is mourning her 32-year-old fiancé Eduardo Deleon who was stabbed to death by fellow inmates in the Lawton Correctional Facility last month.

“Today is day number four of me not crying,” Yust said. “You know, I lost my best friend and my partner. It’s really hard. It’s a horrible thing for anybody to go through.”

She said it happened on April 8 and Deleon died on April 13 after being on life support for five days.

He leaves behind two children.

“So many people reached out to me, like a lady reached out to me letting me know her son was stabbed back in November and died,” Yust said. “Then I had another lady that messaged me that her brother had passed away in July last year. So many people it happens to. Just a week later, a lieutenant got stabbed in the back of the head. There’s no protection.”

Shelton said if the DOJ doesn’t intervene, Ignite Justice is prepared to file a civil suit against the Lawton Correctional Facility.

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