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Kansas Officials Declare Emergency At State Prison Due To Staffing Shortages

Kansas Department of Corrections
The El Dorado Correctional Facility.

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.

That prompted Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood to declare an official emergency.

Lawmakers meeting this week in Topeka are expected to press Norwood on what he’s doing to alleviate the staffing shortages at both El Dorado and at the state’s other maximum-security prison in Lansing.