Kansas Department of Corrections declares emergency at El Dorado Correctional Facility

February 12, 2019 - 11:30 am
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The Kansas Department of Corrections today declared an emergency at El Dorado Correctional Facility effective immediately due to serious staffing shortages. The following statement is from Governor Laura Kelly:

“Through the transition and the early weeks of my administration, it became increasingly clear that many of our state agencies have been neglected and underfunded. There are serious consequences to the mismanagement of the last few years as Secretary Roger Werholtz has made very clear in recent committee hearings.

“As a result, today the Kansas Department of Corrections declared an emergency at El Dorado Correctional Facility due to critical staffing shortages. They are doing everything they can to manage the situation and ensure the safety of the staff and the public.

“I met with legislative leadership this morning and we will work together to address the many challenges facing our state, most immediately our prison system and corrections staff. It is time to work together to rebuild our state and fix the damage done to our state agencies and infrastructure in the last few years.”

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Kansas' corrections secretary has declared an emergency at the state's most crowded maximum-security prison because of what the state calls "serious staffing shortages."

Gov. Laura Kelly's office released a statement Tuesday announcing Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz's declaration for the El Dorado Correctional Facility, but it provided few details about what actions will follow.

Past declarations have allowed the prison to force employees to work longer shifts. El Dorado saw multiple inmate disturbances in 2017 and 2018, and the state spent nearly $177,000 repairing damage from a July 2018 riot.

Kelly said she met Tuesday morning with legislative leaders to discuss problems at the prison about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Wichita.

It was holding 2,029 inmates as of Monday, or 74 more than its stated capacity of 1,955.

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