Kansas Prisons

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

A security lapse at the El Dorado Correctional Facility led to a June 24 disturbance during which inmates used makeshift weapons to threaten guards, according to new information provided Wednesday to Kansas lawmakers.

The report, compiled by the prison’s Serious Incident Review Board, said the failure of guards to secure “multiple” doors allowed between 50 and 70 inmates to leave their cells and enter the prison yard where inmates from another cellblock had gathered for their scheduled “evening recreation.”

Peter Taylor / flickr Creative Commons

The Federal Public Defender’s office is asking a judge to hold the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas in contempt after it stopped cooperating with an investigation of attorney-client tapings at a Leavenworth prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s decision was disclosed earlier this week in a report by the special master, Cleveland attorney David R. Cohen, who was appointed by the judge to look into the tapings.

Bigstock

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas has stopped cooperating with an investigation into the taping of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the pretrial detention facility in Leavenworth, according to the special master looking into the matter.

The decision by the office is likely to heighten suspicions by criminal defense lawyers that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is concealing information about the tapings from them.

Michael Coghlan, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas legislators expect to consider proposals next year to make it easier for people wrongfully convicted of major crimes to win compensation from the state following the third recent high-profile release of men exonerated after years in prison.

MICHAEL COGHLAN / CREATIVE COMMONS-FLICKR

Officers at the El Dorado Correctional Facility will continue working 12-hour shifts for another 90 days under an emergency status declared earlier this year.

The state corrections department says the extended shifts are due to a staffing shortage.

The department says it’s working to hire and train more staff at the prison.

Three inmate-led disturbances were reported in May and June at the El Dorado prison.

Critics have said the unrest was caused in part because the state shifted some inmates from Lansing Correctional Facility to El Dorado.

Wikipedia

The maximum-security unit at Kansas’ Lansing prison was on lockdown on Friday afternoon following a fight earlier in the day in the prison lunchroom.

A fight between what state officials are describing as “two offender groups” broke out shortly after noon on Friday as inmates lined up for lunch.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections says there were no serious injuries in the altercation, which took guards about 40 minutes to bring under control.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Inmates turned over a tactical response vehicle, made weapons out of broken pieces of glass, and tried to run over a corrections officer with a commandeered cart, during a riot Tuesday night at the Norton Correctional Facility in north-central Kansas, according to a copy of the prison's log obtained by KCUR.

The threat posed by inmates was serious enough that, at one point, responding officers were told to use lethal force if necessary.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback is making an announcement about the Department of Corrections at a prison that has seen at least three significant disturbances in recent months.

Lawmakers and the state employees' union have urged the administration to address chronic staffing shortages and low pay among Kansas corrections workers. The governor's office has not disclosed what Brownback will say Thursday afternoon at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Neil Conway, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas corrections officials expect the next prison built by the state to be fully air-conditioned, including the cells for inmates.

They view climate control as a way to lessen problems with inmates and to help combat high employee turnover.

Some lawmakers who don't want to coddle criminals also see a need to make corrections officers less miserable in the summer heat.

Plans to air-condition the new prison in Lansing in the Kansas City area also come as a federal judge is forcing Texas to move hundreds of inmates sensitive to the heat to cooler areas.

REDBULL TRINKER / FLICKR — CC

Two former detainees at the Leavenworth Detention Center have filed a class action lawsuit over the taping of meetings and calls between inmates and their attorneys at the pretrial facility.

The lawsuit follows a similar one filed by two attorneys who alleged their phone calls and meetings with clients at the facility were taped.

Pages