By Liz Collin

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — A new man is now in charge of the Minnesota prison where a corrections officer lost his life last summer. Joseph Gomm died after an inmate attacked him inside the Stillwater prison.

WCCO was there today as a new warden laid out his priorities ahead.

Thirty years after he started as a corrections officer in St. Cloud, Guy Bosch will now lead Minnesota’s largest maximum security prison in Stillwater.

“You have my commitment to operate a safe and secure facility. That commitment is priority one,” Bosch said.

Seven different living areas house 1,600 inmates at the correctional facility that came under the spotlight since officer Joseph Gomm died inside last July.

“He was the first person I thought of when I was offered this job,” Bosch said.

Bosch says Gomm’s sacrifice will never be forgotten. The same for Oak Park Heights officer Joseph Parise who died from a medical emergency last September rushing to help a colleague.

The DOC says hundreds of inmates have been disciplined for staff assaults in the last few years. More than half of those assaults happened at Stillwater and nearby Oak Park Heights.

“Working in corrections is no easy job,” Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said.

Schnell announced earlier this year that seven of the state’s 10 prisons will have new wardens. Pushing for fresh perspectives to create safer environments for staff and offenders, alike.

“We’re employing use of better interventions, better assessment tools, better crisis intervention, less use of force,” Bosch said.

Still, the greatest need is likely new employees. The union that represents corrections officers believes 300 more are needed to properly staff state prisons. Stillwater is hosting two job fairs next month in hopes of filling positions.

As a new warden vows to turn tragedy into lasting change.

“I feel his weight on my shoulder as a gift to make sure we’re very focused,” Bosch said.

The union representing corrections officers, AFSCME Council 5, told WCCO they would have no comment on the topic of the new wardens taking over.

Liz Collin

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