The warden of the state-run women's prison in Topeka has been reassigned to Lansing Correctional Facility, where she will take over operations next week.
Shannon Meyer, warden at Topeka Correctional Facility for the past three years, will replace retiring Lansing warden Ron Baker. She is the first woman to be appointed warden of the men's correctional facility.
Meyer will return next week to Lansing, where she began her corrections career in 2002. Construction of a new correctional facility to replace a Lansing prison built during the Civil War era is nearing completion.
“We need experienced leadership with the retirement of warden Baker," said corrections spokesman Randy Bowman. "Warden Meyer has that experience, both as a warden at the Topeka Correctional Facility and with the staff at Lansing. She is the right leader for this new era, and we appreciate her returning to lead our largest facility.”
Meyer began her corrections career in 2002 in Lansing and was the deputy warden there before moving to Topeka.
Within months of arriving at the women's prison, Meyer raised concerns about a dental lab instructor, Tomas Co, after an internal report substantiated claims of sexual harassment and unprofessional behavior with inmates. Meyer recommended Co be fired but was overruled without explanation by Johnnie Goddard, the deputy KDOC secretary at the time.
Co was fired in December 2018 after another investigation into claims of sexual abuse. He now faces trial on six charges of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate.
Bowman said the relocation of Meyer to Lansing is unrelated to Co.
In an interview earlier this year, Meyer said she "wouldn't be in this field or this job if I didn't care about inmates."
"It is our job to keep them safe and make sure they are in a safe environment and do what we can to prepare them for release," Meyer said. "That's our mission. Obviously, there's times when I don't get to fully make every decision."