The Kansas Department of Corrections

The Kansas Department of Corrections has reassigned the superintendent of the state's juvenile corrections complex after he allegedly grabbed and shoved a female worker.

The agency announced Thursday that Kyle Rohr is reassigned to the central office until his criminal case is resolved. The Topeka city prosecutor's office said Rohr has been issued a citation on a charge of battery.

Kansas Department of Corrections

As the push to hire a private contractor to build a new Lansing prison and then lease it to the state increases, some legislative leaders look warily at the idea.

This week, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback stopped at the Lansing Correctional Facility to make yet another push for his administration’s plan to overhaul it. The visit came just days before a panel of lawmakers could decide the fate of his plan for replacing the deteriorating prison.


A deal to farm out the next new prison in Kansas to a private firm -- one that would replace the outdated facility in Lansing and lease it to the state -- hit a delay Thursday.

Michael Coghlan / flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas legislative committee will meet this week to review a plan for building a new state prison in Lansing.

A joint committee on budget issues is scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon for an update from Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood. House Majority Leader Don Hineman says he will wait until after the budget committee's meeting to decide whether he will support the project.

Final approval for the project must come from the governor and legislative leaders by early January.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Kansas corrections officials hope to have a contract signed before the end of the year to build a new prison in Lansing. The negotiations over that prison contract have been taking place behind closed doors.

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The American Humanist Association on Wednesday sued Kansas prison officials, alleging the Topeka Correctional Facility promotes Christianity in violation of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, claims the prison displays prayers and messages on prison bulletin boards, has erected an eight-foot cross in one of its multi-purpose rooms and often broadcasts movies with Christian themes on inmates’ televisions.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Kansas lawmakers in both parties are calling for higher pay for the state’s corrections officers after several recent incidents at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers had some tough questions Thursday for Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood about staff shortages that recently contributed to several violent incidents at a state prison in El Dorado.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, took Norwood to task for withholding information about inmate unrest at the prison located just north of Wichita.

“It concerns me that we’re not getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth," Kelly said.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Kansas officials have declared an emergency at the state prison in El Dorado because of staffing shortages.

The staffing shortages are being blamed for several recent violent incidents at the prison, which houses both medium- and maximum-security inmates.

To compensate, prison officials began requiring guards to work 12-hour shifts and sometimes up to 16 hours.

The union that represents state employees filed a grievance, charging that extended-hour shifts could only be required in emergencies.

Neil Conway, flickr Creative Commons

The Sedgwick County Commission agreed on Wednesday to allow the Division of Corrections to submit a $3 million grant to the state.

The money would be used for five programs which are designed to prevent and address juvenile delinquency. Three of the programs, which constitute the majority of the grant, are for programs operated by the state, including the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC).