Inmate dies after incident at Leavenworth Detention Center

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The CoreCivic Leavenworth Detention Center was placed on lockdown following a battery at the facility that resulted in an inmate's death, according to police and an official with the private corrections company.

The incident was reported Aug. 2 at the Leavenworth Detention Center, 100 Highway Terrace.

Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department, said an inmate, Scott W. Wilson, was kicked, punched and struck with a tray.

Wilson, 39, suffered a broken rib and punctured lung. He died two days later.

Nicodemus said another inmate, a 28-year-old man, has been identified as a suspect.

No formal charges have been filed in court. County Attorney Todd Thompson said in an email Friday that the case is still being investigated.

"We’ve been in contact with multiple agencies in regards to this matter," he said.

The suspect's name is being withheld until confirmation of formal charges.

The Leavenworth Detention Center houses pretrial detainees for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Ryan Gustin, director of public affairs for CoreCivic, said in an email that the Leavenworth Detention Center was placed on lockdown status Aug. 3. He said the decision was made in consultation with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Gustin said the center can be placed on lockdown status for a "variety of reasons to ensure safety, including regular precautionary facility-wide security searches. It is never a punitive measure. Rather, it’s an important tool in maintaining safety and security for inmates and staff."

The lockdown was still in place Friday afternoon.

"While we don’t have a specific date identified, the facility management team continues to be in close dialogue with our government partner to evaluate when to resume normal operations," Gustin said.

Earlier this year, officials with CoreCivic met with Leavenworth County commissioners with a proposal for the county to take over the operation of the Leavenworth Detention Center.

The proposal was in response to an executive order issued by President Joe Biden that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from renewing contracts with privately-run detention facilities. The Marshals Service is an agency of the Justice Department.

The current contract for the Leavenworth Detention Center is set to expire at the end of the year.

Commissioners voted May 5 to notify the company that they were not interested in pursuing the proposal.

Among the concerns expressed by commissioners is the potential for lawsuits that could be filed against the county as the operator of the facility.

Several days later, CoreCivic Vice President Natasha Metcalf wrote a letter to County Administrator Mark Loughry asking the commission to reconsider its decision.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR