A Stop to Mental Hospital Escapes


Kynslee White

The Kansas State Government named Laura Kelly is taking a stance to put  a stop to the escapes that have happened at the Larned State Hospital. Just in the last six months, Two people who could be considered dangerous escaped the facility. Kelly recommended to the Kansas Department Of Aging and Disability Services, which is a group that oversees the protection and recovery side of Kansans. Kelly stated that “This administration is taking action to identify and fix the flaws that allowed two dangerous residents to escape from a state-operated facility, to ensure that it does not happen again”.

Reports have been made that the Hospital has been struggling with workforce obstacles. This includes the job positions and the well known covid pandemic that was widely taking place during the time of the escape. According to Kansas.com, thirty eight percent of the direct staff employment spots were unfilled and this rose to forty five point four percent rate at the end of September. 


The Two Relevant Escapes 

John Freeman Colt was the first of the two escapees from the last six months. He is a convicted sex offender that is a part of the Sexual Predator that is a part of the Treatment Program at this facility. Colt escaped as easily as flashing a fake security badge at one of the checkpoints and just walking out. The Pawnee County Sheriff’s Department later found that three employees had helped with the escape. This was found after opening a criminal investigation for the cases and resulted in criminal charges from the case. 

Isaac Watts was the most recent escape that has taken place. Watts has three chargers under attempted murder, domestic violence, and kidnaping. Watts also simply walked out by just wearing a state issue jacket. Watts was found and arrested in a hotel in Garden City where he was found with a female accomplice after this escape took place. 

John Freeman noted as a dangerous sexual predator who escaped the hospital

Many concerns have been raised from these two cases.. Fifty Nine Sheriffs sent a letter to the government. Kelly in October stated that  the operations of this Hospital are on a Crisis level. According to Kansas.com the letter states “This places the public at risk and obstructs law enforcement”. When talking with students at Great Bend High School, 10 random students if they were aware of the escapes and the replies were six of the students had but four have not. This shows that a little lower than half of the students didn’t even know that someone who considered a dangerous predator was out. In all, this article was about the problems that have happened and why its time for a change.