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Archive for Saturday, May 20, 2006

Indiana picks Kansas superintendent to head troubled juvenile prison

May 20, 2006

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— The Indiana Department of Correction has turned to a nationally recognized Kansas prison superintendent to head the troubled Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility.

The hiring of Michael Dempsey, who takes over at the maximum-security prison on June 5, comes nearly three months after the firing of its previous full-time superintendent and follows recent inmate disturbances and abusive actions by correctional officers.

Dempsey has been running the maximum-security Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka. The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recognized Dempsey and the Topeka prison in January for contributing to the positive development of the state's juveniles. The office cited the prison's work in vocational education programs.

"I'm excited that we were able to persuade Michael to join our team," DOC Commissioner J. David Donahue said in a news release Friday. "Michael's experience in managing the 270-bed Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex will be instrumental in the implementation of new programming techniques, policy and planning."

Dempsey began prison work in 1985 as a correctional officer. He also has been a training officer and assistant superintendent at a 2,000-bed adult male maximum-security prison.

Donahue on Feb. 23 fired former Pendleton Supt. Jane Burns for what he termed "unacceptable practices" and "missteps of management at the facility," including not following department policies. Three correctional officers faced criminal charges at the time over their actions at the prison about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The prison held an average daily prisoner population of 245 last year.

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