Kenneth M. LaMaster has worked since 1979 in all three of Leavenworth's famous penitentiaries. His career began as a guard inside the United States Disciplinary Barracks on Fort Leavenworth. In May 1982, LaMaster went to work as a corrections officer at the Kansas State Penitentiary. On July 24, 1983, LaMaster went to work at U.S. Penitentiary Leavenworth. He has served as a correctional officer, materials handler, and institution historian.
U.S. Penitentiary Leavenworthby Kenneth M. LaMaster
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On July 1, 1895, under the direction of warden James French, the first federal prison was born. That same year, St. Louis architects Eames and Young went to work drawing up plans for an institution that would house the most notorious offenders in the nation's history. At sunrise on March 1, 1897, 300 inmates and 30 guards marched three miles to the construction site located on the southwest corner of the military reservation. From sunup to sundown seven days a week in the hot Kansas summer to the harsh prairie winters, inmates labored building their new home. Leavenworth's rich history as a gateway to the Old West is second to none. Name a famous figure such as George Armstrong Custer, John Joseph Pershing, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Colin Powell. They have all graced the streets of this historic community. Equally pick a name of the most notorious criminals. George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Robert F. Stroud, Frank Nash, Frank "the Enforcer" Nitti, and George "Buggs" Moran--they all stopped by to "spend time in Leavenworth."
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