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Corrections officers in the state should wear personal body alarms, carry pepper spray and make other safety improvements to avoid future attacks like the one that killed a guard at the Monroe prison in January, Gov. Chris Gregoire said today.
A cold, damp picket line of state prison guards asked for safety and respect Wednesday in Airway Heights. The pickets got an occasional car-honk salute as they called attention to staffing cuts at the Airway Heights Corrections Center.
Eleven years before Byron Scherf became the chief suspect in the strangling of a Monroe, Wash., corrections officer, a psychologist had concluded Scherf was “unlikely to act out within the institution.” Summarizing the psychologist’s report, a state board that reviews inmate sentences described Scherf, a serial rapist, this way: “He is in fact much more likely to behave as a good, trouble-free, helpful inmate than a violent inmate.”
The inmate suspected of killing a corrections officer in Western Washington is a sex offender serving life in prison for the abduction and rape of a Spokane-area real estate agent in 1995. Byron Scherf, 52, who has a long history of violent sexual assault, is in an isolation facility after Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl, 34, was found dead Saturday night by fellow officers in the chapel lobby of the Monroe Correctional Complex, according to the Department of Corrections.