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UPDATED: Officers Resolve Situation At El Dorado Prison, Return Inmates To Cells

Kansas Department of Corrections
The El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Updated Friday at 10:26 a.m.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman said officers at the El Dorado Correctional Facility worked over the day to get a group of inmates to return to their cells. Todd Fertig said in an email that a group of inmates refused to return to their cells Thursday morning.

Fertig said the situation was resolved around 5:00 Thursday afternoon, after backup was called from other facilities.

"KDOC responded by ensuring the security of the facility and methodically returning the offenders to their cell houses, which occurred without any use of force by staff," Fertig said in a message Thursday afternoon.

Fertig said there were no injuries, and the department will conduct a review of the event.

Robert Choromanski, with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, said members of the union told him the facility was on lockdown.

“It started out basically with the inmates taking over the gym. The prison at El Dorado had to activate the special response team, basically like a SWAT, tactical team,” said Choromanski.

Choromanski is concerned staffing shortages at the maximum security facility could have played a part in the situation.

“The inmates can see that there are staffing shortages. When they can see that the correctional staff is not prepared in numbers to maintain control of the facility, they are going to take advantage of the situation,” Choromanski said.

Choromanski said there are more than 100 job vacancies at the prison. El Dorado is temporarily requiring 12-hour shifts starting next month because of the worker shortage.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.