Former Stillwater correctional officer knows well the dangers inside the prison

Dave Basham worked at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater for eight years and spent a lot of time in the industrial complex.

“At any point in time one of these guys can snap and take you out,” he told Fox 9. “That’s just the way it is.”

According to authorities, the industrial complex is where Correctional Officer Joseph Gomm was brutally attacked on Wednesday by inmate Edward Johnson. Officials say Johnson weaponized a tool to carry out the assault.

“This guy, I knew of him, I didn’t associate with him too much, but when I did he had major attitude,” Basham said, referring to Johnson.

Basham said he was attacked quite a few times while he was an officer, but only once was it serious enough for him to be hospitalized.

“You really don’t think about it,” he said. “You know it’s a possibility, but if you think about it, you’re not going to be able to do your job.”

The death of Gomm prompted a petition calling for the resignation of Commissioner Tom Roy, asserting that he’s shown a lack of concern for officers’ well-being.

The department responded in a statement to Fox 9.

“Commissioner Roy and the department’s senior leadership team take every incident of violence in our facilities very seriously and are continually looking for ways to increase the safety of officers,” read the statement.

Basham said the staffing concerns expressed in the aftermath of Gomm’s death are nothing new, as he dealt with them during his time at the prison.

Basham collected his experiences and put them in a three volume set called Prison Puzzle Pieces.

“These books are specific to Stillwater,” he said. “They have a lot of instances of things that happened to me, things that happen to other people, which are really good learning tools.”