Stun Guns Credited For Increasing Prison Safety - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Stun Guns Credited For Increasing Prison Safety

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan Department of Corrections says the use of stun guns in prisons across the state has helped reduce the number of injuries corrections officers receive from aggressive inmates, and has helped increase prison safety as a whole.

All prisons in Michigan equipped corrections officers with Tasers starting in July of 2012. This came after placing Tasers in five prisons statewide for a trial run.

"[Since introducing Tasers into prisons], what we've seen is a reduction in prisoner violence, a reduction in prisoner-staff assaults, and a more controlled prison population," says John Cordell of the Michigan Department of Corrections.

This year, corrections officers have pulled out stun guns more than 1,400 times, but have only had to use them on about 500 occasions. Officials say the other 900 times, the threat of using a stun gun was enough to deter inmates from further aggressive action.

"[Corrections officers] like having Tasers in there, because it controls the prisoners and that makes them safer," says Cordell.

It also decreases the number of injuries corrections officers receive when trying to tame conflict. "Officer safety is paramount. One of the things we've seen…is that officer injuries as it results from staff-prisoner interactions have gone down dramatically since we utilized the Taser," says Cordell. "So you're seeing officer injuries fall from hundreds of injuries per year to tens of injuries per year because we can deploy the Taser, and it stops those prisoner fights that prior to that we would have had to go in and physically break them up."

Officials say all corrections officers receive proper training on how and when to use stun guns.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or email her at emorrow@wlns.com.

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