We have received an update on a female staff worker that was injured this past week. A male client kicked her in the pelvic area and it broke her pelvic bone, but there is concern that possibly the injuries could be so extensive to cause her to be paralyzed. This is an injury that could have been prevented if the state would have listened to their own employees on the dangers of working at this facility.
MDC has clients that are in there on criminal charges. Clients that do know how to manipulate the system. They have sexual predators that are being housed there and the facility is co-ed. This is not the first of staff being dangerously harmed and sexually harassed but the focus is always on the clients and how they are being treated and no concern about the staff.
Many comments by MDC staff is that the facility should not be necessarily under DPHHS and should be a DOC facility if they are going to house this kind of behavior. How can you have such a wide range of clients mixed together in a setting of cottages with no fences? How can staff protect themselves from clients when they act out such as this case in a DPHHS setting? Who is protecting the staff?
Allen Whetstone, the Incarcerated Montana Fireman, worked at MDC for 20 years before the big blow-up of MDC losing their Medicaid funding and the start of DOJ/DCI investigating into numerous staff and clients at MDC. He had stated many years ago when MDC started changing their original client roster that the facility needed to start changing more towards a DOC instead of remaining under DPHHS. Especially the unit that should be a secure unit. He was told by the upper staff that they did not need to do that. As a matter of fact one of the main beliefs that MDC implemented for their employees to believe is to “treat clients like normal people, they are no different than you or I.” Problem is, they are different. They are in there for a reason. Each individual client has to be dealt with in the manner of why they need to be in a facility in the first place. You have to have the proper training and be allowed the necessary actions to prevent incidents such as this.
You have clients that are in there for sexual crimes, murder and the list goes on. This is not just a simple, quaint picturesque cozy facility where everything is so black and white. There has to be the necessary cautions dealing with an element that is like this. Allen Whetstone made recommendations and was ignored. Allen was given detail duties back when he first worked there, and he said “no” because he felt it was inappropriate and asked them to switch him to something else. It would have been in his record. A person that is preying on others would have jumped at that…but he did not. He was and is man of ethics. This was never brought out and still has not been brought out in his defense. Why?
Instead you have a county attorney, Matt Johnson that had painted a picture of Mr.Whetstone that is pure fabrication. He has “hearsay” information in those reports from clients with these very type natures described as above (remember one had tried to stab his girlfriend at that time in the neck). County Attorney Matt Johnson took a confession of another co-worker which was proven not true by their own hospital doctors. The DNA shows that the “alleged victim” was not even in the room. The plea bargain transcripts do not even correlate with what Matt Johnson told to the media and had written down on the DOC records. If what County Attorney Matt Johnson stated was true, well there most certainly would have been DNA on the “alleged victim.” Then for Matt Johnson to call the probation officer, Andy Larsen. that gave a 360 degree turn on his PSI right before the hearing and they both based it on “hearsay” from these very unreliable, non-credible sources. Well, it is the most unprofessional circus that I’ve ever seen. Not even considering the fact that if you look at the public court transcripts and compare it to what Matt Johnson stated it was not the true plea bargain that County Attorney Matt Johnson told the media. If County Attorney Matt Johnson believes that those statements were credible then he believes in the tooth fairy also. For the probation officer, Andy Larsen to go along with the phone call which sounded like a bribe to me, well he has to believe in the same thing. The only one with integrity was Mr.Quiqley, LCSW who is the Certified Forensic Examiner/Criminal Justice Specialist who does the Forensic and Clinical Evaluation for the state, who stated that he was called also by DOJ, but he was not going to allow the DOJ/County Attorney Matt Johnson or Judge Loren Tucker to force him to make any unethical changes and lose all credibility in his field. As you see that Medicaid funding helped the county that Matt Johnson represents, Jefferson County.
Along with protecting these clients (who do need to be protected), who is protecting the staff that works there? Are the staff not people also? There has been horrendous injuries through the years to staff, but to possibly be paralyzed is beyond comprehension. For many staff that have been falsely accused and for one to be imprisoned is also beyond comprehension. I think this facility should be better planned out for the safety of both parties. Not to punish the workers more by possibly taking their jobs away. Apparently it is a beautiful facility but poorly planned as it stands. They have to decide what they want and with some hard work and some folks actually working together with open transparency it could be a great facility.