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Security check at Larned hospital accelerated after escapes

Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility
Posted at 5:37 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 18:37:39-05

TOPEKA, Kan. — State officials said Tuesday they are working to find an independent firm to review security procedures at Larned State Hospital after two inmates escaped from the psychiatric facility since June.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said in a news release it is coordinating with the Correctional Leaders Association to find an independent firm to conduct a comprehensive review at the hospital.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly directed the department to start the search for a firm after convicted sex offender John Colt escaped from the Sexual Predator Treatment Program in June. Holt was recaptured in September in Utah. Three Larned employees were charged with helping Colt escape.

Isaac Watts, of Ulysses, escaped Monday. Watts, who was being held on charges of aggravated kidnapping, attempted murder, domestic battery, and criminal threat, was recaptured Tuesday in Garden City.

The search for the review firm will be accelerated after Watts' escape, Kelly's office said.

Once a proposal is final, the review will begin in February, with a written report with recommendations expected by the end of March, state officials said.