McNeil Island prison uncovers security problems

McNEIL ISLAND, Wash. (AP) – The investigation of an escape attempt from McNeil Island prison found a string of mistakes, confusion and chaos and has prompted security improvements.

The Department of Corrections investigation found if it hadn’t been for the “good instincts” and sharp eyes of 1 officer, the inmate might have made it to the mainland.

Among the problems uncovered after Donald Dravis walked out of the prison gate in December were: the appearance that the staff didn’t know what to do in an emergency, the escape siren wasn’t sounded, the shift commander wasn’t notified immediately, and the prison escape procedure wasn’t initiated until 25 minutes into the incident.

The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma uncovered details of the report through a public records request.



One Response to “McNeil Island prison uncovers security problems”

  1. The Family of Leon Toney has suffered many civil rights violations as well as inhumane treatments Courtesy of ;( DOC McNeil Island Prison) our family was made to feel like prisoners throughout this entire ordeal, McNeil Island Prison continues to give our family half truths and refuse to take responsibility involving my brother serious medical injuries. I suspect these very obvious details are often “overlooked” and/or not “seen” by victims and their families on a regular basis dealing with “American Prison”.
    No matter what oppositions we are faced with, we will continue to tell Leon Toney’s story as well as be a voice to other inhumane injustices from Prison Abuse, which is devastating to many families like ours.
    This is my families testimony of truth, on Sep, 18, 2008, our family had to endure what we refer to as our families; “911” our family received a call from an inmate using an illicit cell phone at McNeil Island Corrections informing us that Leon was being air lifted off the island for medical reasons thought to be from a heart attack. We immediately started calling to see what had happened? In a panic and search for answers we as a family were left in the dark by DOC they never once informed immediate family about Leon condition. The only thing they could tell our family is call his Wife which was news to us. From this experience it is our belief that no one should ever have to endure such pains or horrors. We walked into a trauma unit, after flying across the country to a horror scene that shattered our lives for the worst, imagine walking into and ICU unit seeing a family member with LIFE THREATENING injuries and have no answers as to why these injuries were caused.
    One inmate accounts in details what he saw through a letter and would like to remain nameless if possible but would stand behind what he saw DOC “lack of urgency” in assisting Leon during the emergency situation. He accounts that they heard the helicopter turned on then off. He saw the ambulance workers slowly walking to attend to Leon. He also saw Leon sitting up even at the time as the guards was all saying he was “dead”. Now if they are “pronouncing” him dead is that how DOC handles a person propping them up for all to see instead of respectfully laying him down and covering him. And if they had already said he was dead that means Leon started his fight to live amongst the very people that don’t want us to know what truly happened to him. As his family we don’t know if they really tried to save him but once we started calling around 11:45 – 12noon PST they finally decided to take him off the island to receive proper care. It is our belief if DOC would have taken him out for medical care immediately instead of sitting out for all the prison to see… he wouldn’t be in the condition he is in now. The FBI as well as Washington State Patrol has been investigating this case for six months, one Prison officer has been arrested according to the News Tribune. From the beginning of this investigation our family was told that no foul- play was involved before surveillance tapes where viewed quote from Detective from WSP, or “all we want or care about is the dirty Prison Guards nothing else” quote; from FBI agent. But we are supposed to believe that all these so called State Agencies employed by Washington are conducting independent investigations.
    Either way you look at this; these injuries were parented while in the care and custody the Washington State Correctional Facility (McNeil Island Prison). The only answers we had then and now, were that he had a heart attack, this story later changed to an attempted suicide which was unbelievable because of the lack of evidences and various stories we have been given. The bottom line is as well as fact, is that Washington (Mc Neil Island Prison) has attributed the events to “bad apples” and failed to accept responsibility or to hold seriously accountability to illegal activities which resulted in Leon Toney becoming medically incapacitated. How can you admit knowledge of virtual bazaar of prohibited and illicit goods smuggled in by guards and correctional employees? But say no foul play has been involved. If they wanted to stop contraband from coming into a prison they could. This system is about the economy of the participants, the intentional creation of a criminal class that law abiding citizens will fear is the result of our lack of enforcement of law; upon lawbreakers including those who are there to uphold the law.
    I’m sure you all know the old adage saying – You can tell a society by how it treats its weakest members. I don’t want to be a part of a society that allows prisoners to be murdered or harmed in prison or a society that doesn’t protect the mentally ill.
    Thanks for all the prayers, phone calls and efforts to speak out against prison Abuse!!!!!
    If you have any questions are comments write:

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