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Monday, July 03, 2017

Prison uprising (or some kind of event) raises questions on state and local funding

Just recently I heard about the incident at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, at their maximum-security prison. It amounted to a group of prisoners refusing to go back to their cells after being in a "common area of the prison." I have a nephew who works as a guard at that prison so I was quite concerned. He was not hurt. His mother was giving us updates on Facebook as to his status.
Whether this was an actual riot, disturbance or some other type of event is hard to say. What ever it was lasted for several hours. For a while some people were releasing statements to the press that there were weapons held by prisoners. So far, the officials of El Dorado Correction Facility have said there were no weapons by the prisoners. But there is a lot of distrust among those who have relatives in the prison or working there. Maybe there were weapons and maybe other violations occurredBut until we know more...officially it was a relatively non violent event.  
According to The Wichita Eagle, a few days ago:

"Internal radio traffic at the prison indicated that “the gym, the yard, the Special Security Team office and the kitchen are all under inmate control right now,” (Robert) Choromanski said in another email. “They are refusing to vacate the area.”

So far I have not seen any reports as to why the inmates refused to return to their cells. Where there any demands? Where they just testing out the resolve of those running the prison? I have yet to see any answers.
There is one thing we can tell from all of thisas with the school system, the Kansas Legislature and our idiot governor have not adequately funded this institution. And we can ascertain that other prison facilities either are or will be facing similar problems in the near future.
Last year the The Topeka Capital Journal reported that:

"(Sam) Brownback himself is developing a budget proposal, but he has divulged few details.
Lawmakers and the governor must find a way to eliminate a $350 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, which runs through June.
State leaders need to account for a projected decrease in revenue of more than $580 million in the next fiscal year."

The main problem here is that the governor and his allies are short changing the prison systems just as they did with the school systems.
According to KAKE's Greg Miller:

"they believe approximately 120 positions are open at the facility. That number had doubled since April. Other employees site low morale, ineffective leadership and dangerous practices for so many resignations.
Family members of those employees inside the facility Thursday had gathered at a private parking lot across the street. Many of them said there have been several incidents at the prison in the last few weeks, and that they're worried about safety for guards."

That indicates that some of the problems may be local. There is little doubt that this also occurs from the dreadful under spending at the state level for paying people for dangerous jobs that are required for the safety and benefit of our local citizens. No matter what anyone thinks of our laws or prison institutions none of us are safe with underfunded and understaffed prisons.
And if the local officials at this facility are unfit for the job, they need to be replaced for the benefit of all of us.

From KWCH:
The KDOC says it "will conduct a review of the event and take actions as necessary to prevent further incidents in the future."
UPDATE (3:40 p.m.) - The Kansas Department of Corrections reports that inmates who refused to return to their cells Thursday morning have been contained and "measures to return to normal are underway" at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
The entrance to the facility remains blocked off, as it has for most of the day. The Kansas Department of Corrections say the facility is secure, but has not said if the situation inside the prison is under control.
We’ve seen internal communication notes from prison staff which seems to indicate people did get hurt, but prison officials deny that, saying there were no injuries to employees or inmates.
El Dorado prison is secure. Refusal to return to cells is contained. Measures to return to normal underway. KDOC will then review incidents
— KS Corrections (@KSCorrections) June 29, 2017
UPDATE-- 2:40 p.m.: We have learned that Governor Sam Brownback's office has been made aware of the ongoing situation at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. The only information provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections is in the statement below, saying it started Thursday morning when a group of inmates refused to return to their cells and that there were no reports of injuries to inmates nor staff.
The Kansas Department of Corrections says the staff at El Dorado includes 310 uniformed positions out of 425 authorized positions.
Earlier this week, we told you about
plans to move 150 maximum-security mental health inmates from the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility (LCMHF) to El Dorado. and that this move comes despite the El Dorado prison being about 90 employees short.
UPDATE-- 2:30 p.m.: A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman released the following statement Thursday afternoon, updating the situation at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
On Thursday morning, a group of offenders at El Dorado Correctional Facility refused to return to their assigned cell houses. No incidents of violence have occurred, and there have been no injuries to offenders or staff. The facility is secure, and measures to return the offenders to the cell houses are ongoing. KDOC will then conduct a review of the incidents.
Again, there have been no injuries and no acts of violence, and the facility is secure.
We have received several phone calls and emails about extra activity at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
.A spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections says at this time, he has no information to pass along about the situation.
We also have a crew at the prison that reports a majority of vehicles approaching the property have been turned away.
Stay tuned on-air and online for updates.
KDOC confirms inmates won't go back in their cells at El Dorado prison. Hearing from others the situation is "very bad." Working to confirm.

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