As D.A. considers charges, escapes are a fact of life in Lansing

This photo combo of undated images provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections shows inmates, from left, Randy A. Ridens Sr., Allen M. Hurst and Scott A. Gilbert. The three inmates walked away from a minimum-security unit at the Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas, Friday, May 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Kansas Department of Corrections)

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EDGERTON, MO. (AP) – The Leavenworth County attorney is weighing whether to file charges after three inmates escaped from a prison in Lansing, Kan.

Missouri prosecutors previously charged 31-year-old Allen M. Hurst and 49-year-old Scott A. Gilbert with trying to ambush officers who pursued them and of attempting to kidnap the mayor of the small town of Edgerton. They were caught around 5 p.m. Friday, several hours after escaping from the Lansing Correction Facility with 57-year-old Randy Ridens Sr.

The Kansas Department of Corrections says Ridens was taken into custody later Friday night as he was entering Topeka. He hadn’t been charged in the escape as of Monday, but Leavenworth County Todd Thompson says he is reviewing the case.

Meanwhile, corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay says an investigation into the escape is ongoing.

The Lansing Correctional Facility is the largest of the state’s eight correctional facilities.  It houses more than 1,000 inmates between it’s minimum, medium, and maximum security units.

People living in the area say prison breaks are a fact of life.

When three inmates walked away from the Lansing Correction Facility Cole LaFontaine had no idea it would mean his last day of his senior year would be nothing like he expected- Lansing High School was on lock-down all day Friday.


“I thought it was like just a normal exercise but then a student walked in and said some prisoners escaped so i was like whoa, really?” LaFontaine said Friday.

The inmates were on work detail outside the east unit of the facility.  “We do have supervision but there is not a fence around the minimum unit,” said Kansas Dept. of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay.

Several dozen homes are just a few hundred yards away from where these inmates escaped, one woman who’s lived nearby for more than 50 years says she’s never been afraid, but she’s always kept her doors locked.

Jason Crooks, who says he lives just down the street from LCF,  says living so close to barbed wire makes him feel safer,  “If they’re gonna escape, they’re gonna go, the least they’d probably do is steal your car or maybe some clothes off the close line, but that’s about it.”

Steve Wayman has lived in Lansing his whole life, he became the police chief in 2005.  “We understand that if you live in an area where there’s prisons there’s always the possibility that one could escape,” he said.  “People in the Lansing community, if they see something out of place they’ll call and look out for each other.”

Between Lansing and neighboring Leavenworth there are four adult prisons, which begs vigilance.

“At least keep the doors locked, and you know, check things out, some stuff like this occurs you gotta be on top of it, and keep your eye out for the neighbors and hopefully the neighbors will too,” Crooks said.


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