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Crime and Courts

Kansas Corrections Secretary Proposes Expanding El Dorado Prison

Stephen Koranda
Roberts speaking at a committee meeting at the Kansas Statehouse.

Kansas prison space is already at capacity and the problem of overcrowding is expected to get worse.

Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts says lawmakers should consider expanding the El Dorado facility to help manage the inmate population.

There are other options to help in the short-term, such as reducing sentences for inmates who complete job training or drug treatment classes. But Roberts believes expanding the El Dorado prison is a better, long-term solution.

“If we’re looking at adding 1135 more offenders over the next 10 years, there’ll have to be some real decisions made as to how much permanent space you need to accommodate those numbers,” Roberts says. “It’s a more permanent option and it’s one that’s going to have to be addressed at some point.”

Roberts says the expansion would cost around $27 million, but it would cost a similar amount to pay to house excess inmates at privately run prisons. He says the state is already doing a good job of diverting non-violent offenders to programs that help them avoid prison time.