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Crime and Courts

Report: KS Dept. Of Corrections Faces Prison Overcrowding, Offenders With Behavioral Health Issues

Abigail Wilson

The Kansas Department of Corrections released its annual report this week. The report says the KDOC faced a number of ongoing challenges, including prison overcrowding an increasing number of offenders with behavioral health issues.

Since 2010, the adult prison population has grown by 958, an upward trend that is expected to continue. On Wednesday, El Dorado Correctional Facility was over capacity by 18 inmates.

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Adam Pfannenstiel with the KDOC says that’s not uncommon, but there is room for everyone because cells originally intended for one inmate can be allocated for two. He says El Dorado serves as the state's entry point for all men coming into the Kansas prison system.

“We have different professionals that evaluate them based on mental health needs, education, Pfannenstiel says. "We develop a program or plan and send them to the appropriate facility from there.”

According to the report, many offenders struggle with significant behavioral health problems, such as substance abuse and mental illness. In fact, the report says the KDOC has become the largest mental health provider in the state.


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