Politics & Government

El Dorado prison ‘emergency,’ 12-hour shifts to continue

This March 23, 2011, photo shows the El Dorado Correctional Facility near El Dorado.
This March 23, 2011, photo shows the El Dorado Correctional Facility near El Dorado. AP

El Dorado Correctional Facility will remain in emergency status for now, the state corrections agency says.

The move allows the Kansas Department of Corrections to continue 12-hour shifts for corrections officers, which were put in place earlier this year because of a staffing shortage.

“Please be advised that I am continuing the ‘officially declared emergency’ at the El Dorado Correctional Facility based on staffing shortages,” Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood said in a letter to the union representing prison workers.

“As a result, KDOC will continue utilizing 12-hour shifts for another 90-day period to be reviewed on or before December 22, 2017.”

Kansas Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood answers questions in early September. John Hanna AP

Norwood’s letter is dated Monday. The Kansas Organization of State Employees provided it to reporters on Friday.

“KDOC is working diligently to hire and train staff to meet the needs of the facility,” Norwood wrote.

Mandatory overtime and extended hours are allowed in emergencies under the agency’s agreement with KOSE.

El Dorado, along with the prison in Lansing, has struggled with high numbers of vacant positions this year. In August, El Dorado 93 unfilled positions out of 317 statewide.

The prison has dealt with multiple stabbings and inmate unrest this year. The incidents took place after some inmates had been shifted from Lansing Correctional Facility to El Dorado.

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman