prisons

Kansas Department of Corrections

TOPEKA — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration plans to begin giving COVID-19 vaccinations to Kansas prison inmates this week, ignoring a call from the Republican-controlled Legislature to postpone their inoculations so that others can get them first.

Hans Pennink / Associated Press/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas expects to finish giving COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care residents and health care workers by the end of this month and has moved people aged 65 and older into the next group to receive the shots.

Kansas Prisons Have Some Of The Highest COVID-19 Infection Rates In The Country

Dec 21, 2020

Leoti Masterson hasn’t seen her son, Jeff, since March. She used to visit him at the Winfield Correctional Facility once a week to play cards, reminisce and pray together, sometimes for hours at a time.

But when the pandemic started, Kansas prisons stopped allowing visitors as a coronavirus precaution. Now, Masterson makes do with daily phone calls no longer than 20 minutes.

“He’s my closest family member,” Masterson said. “So, yeah, this is hard.”

LAWRENCE, Kansas — For months, the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth avoided the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. But that’s changed.

Leavenworth has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the entire federal prison system, with 206 inmates and five staff members with the virus. There are currently 1,594 people incarcerated at the prison.

doc.ks.gov

TOPEKA — An inmate at Larned Correctional Facility has died from COVID-19 — the fifth state prison inmate to die from the coronavirus since the pandemic began, the Kansas Department of Corrections announced Thursday.

Junior Lee Chrismon, 68, died in a hospital Monday. Chrisman, who was serving a 52-month sentence on drug charges out of Montgomery County, tested positive Aug. 15 and also had underlying health conditions, the agency said.

Michael Coghlan / flickr Creative Commons

KANSAS CITY — A Kansas prison has been locked down due to a coronavirus outbreak affecting nearly 100 inmates and staff at the facility, the government announced Wednesday.

Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda said none of the 84 inmates and 10 staff members at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility who tested positive this week are showing symptoms. Fifteen inmates and seven staff members previously tested positive at the prison, which houses about 1,880 men.

Another settlement has been reached over the illicit recordings of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the pretrial prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

The settlement calls for the private operator of the prison, CoreCivic Inc., and the operator of its phone system, Securus Technologies Inc., to pay $3.7 million to resolve a class action lawsuit brought four years ago by attorneys whose conversations with their clients were recorded.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Steven Bough gave preliminary approval to the deal, which covers the claims of roughly 750 attorneys.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — In his 15 years as a corrections officer at a northeast Kansas prison, David Carter witnessed stabbings, worked through riots and broke up more fights than he can count. He was used to risky situations.

Michael Coghlan / flickr Creative Commons

BELLE PLAINE — A Kansas court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a civil rights rights group seeking the immediate release of prisoners who have preexisting medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — A Kansas man who worked at a correctional facility where there are hundreds of COVID-19 cases died Monday from the virus. Three prisoners from the same facility have died in recent weeks.

George “Bernie” Robare, 61, had worked at the Lansing Correctional Facility in northeast Kansas for more than 35 years. His wife, Susan Robare, told the Kansas News Service that he woke up with a headache and a fever on April 22 and was tested for the coronavirus at the Wyandotte County Health Department.

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