Later this year, correctional officers at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth will be wearing vests to protect them from being stabbed.

Later this year, correctional officers at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth will be wearing vests to protect them from being stabbed.

“By August, hopefully we’ll have all of ours,” Associate Warden Shawn Grant said of the stab-resistant vests.

He said all staff members will wear the vests anytime they are in the federal prison.

Grant discussed the vests Thursday during a meeting of the USP Leavenworth Community Relations Board.

The meeting was attended by various officials from the USP and other correctional facilities as well as other representatives of the community.

Grant said employees are being required to wear the vests in facilities throughout the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Also during the meeting, Justin Welsh, supervisor of education, discussed efforts to establish a welding certification program at the prison.

“So right now, we’re in the beginning phases of that,” he said.

He said the program would allow inmates to become certified welders by the time they leave the facility.

He said prison officials will have to build a welding lab at the facility. He said the prison also will need to partner with a college that will send instructors to the prison.

People attending Thursday’s meeting also were informed about a program in which inmates at the minimum security camp on the grounds of the USP provide obedience training to dogs to prepare the animals for adoption.

The program is a partnership with the Leavenworth County Humane Society.

Warden Nicole English said the biggest issue with the program now is marketing the dogs that are available for adoption.

“We just need people to get the word out in the community,” said Crystal Swann Blackdeer, executive director of the Leavenworth County Humane Society.

Also Thursday, English thanked members of the community for their donations to assist employees at the U.S. Penitentiary during a partial government shutdown at the beginning of 2019.

“There was some staff that needed it dearly,” English said.

Employees at the federal prison did not receive paychecks during the shutdown.

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