LEAVENWORTH — Taking the job as the warden of the Lansing Correctional Facility was something like a homecoming for Shannon Meyer.
Meyer began her career with the Kansas Department of Corrections at LCF. And she later served as the prison’s deputy warden.
Meyer said many of the people she previously worked with at LCF are still employed at the prison.
“You kind of develop a family in corrections,” she said.
Meyer, 38, became the warden of LCF on Aug. 26. She took over the job from former Warden Ron Baker, who retired.
Meyer is the first female warden in the history of LCF, which opened in the 1860s.
Originally from McLouth, Meyer said she was always interested in corrections.
“I love to help people,” she said.
She began her career at LCF in 2002 as a corrections counselor.
In 2016, Meyer became the warden of the Topeka Correctional Facility, the state’s only prison for women. She held this position until becoming the LCF warden.
Meyer takes over the job of LCF warden as construction continues on new facilities for the prison.
Last year, work began on a project to rebuild much of the prison.
The new buildings are being constructed through an agreement between the state government and CoreCivic, a company that operates private prisons.
The state will lease the new facilities from CoreCivic. The KDOC will continue to operate and staff LCF during the 20-year lease. And the state will own the new facilities at the completion of the lease agreement.
“There’s so much going on here now,” Meyer said.
She said there are a lot of unknowns that come with the new facilities, and this can be stressful for staff members and inmates.
LCF officials anticipate that inmates will move to the new minimum security unit in December. Inmates may move into a new maximum and medium security unit in late January.
Another ongoing issue at LCF is the recruitment and retention of staff. Meyer acknowledged that working in corrections is not an easy job.
Meyer said she wants to make working at LCF as positive an experience as possible. She hopes to make LCF a place where employees will want to stay.