TOPEKA (CAPITOL BUREAU) – In a detailed report, the Legislative Division of Post Audit laid out what happened during three security incidents at El Dorado Correctional Facility.
“The June 24th incident resulted from gang activity and failed security protocols,” said auditor Scott Frank during Friday’s meeting.
According to the audit, correctional officers responded the way they’re trained.
“Department officials told us they intentionally allow inmates to maintain control in confined areas as part of their response strategies, said Frank.
The DOC says the response strategies prevent unnecessary injury and allows the inmates to calm down.
“You try not to escalate the situation and so they followed the procedure and within a couple of hours everything was back to normal,” said the legislative audit committee chairman, State Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene.
During the three incidents no serious injuries were reporter. However during the June 24 incident a correctional officer did suffer smoke in-inhalation.
“I think there was a little bit of an exaggeration in terms of news media reports in the incidents that took place in El Dorado and so I’m stratified with the audit,”explained State Sen. Anthony Hensely, D-Topeka.
The Secretary of DOC told lawmakers security changes have been made, and said the pay increase approved in August has helped retrain more Correctional officers.
“We were above 90 vacancy in our uniform staff at one point in time. This week were down to 57 vacancies in that area,” Joe Norwood said.
“All of us want to make sure these incidents are reduced,” said Hensley.
Lawmakers said although it’s concerning that three incidents took place in such a short time period, they believe the DOC is taking the proper steps to cut down on future incidents.
“They’ve got the safe guards in place, they’re staffing levels are up,” added Barker.
According to the report, damage caused in the incidents was a few thousand dollars. However a specific number was not given.