El Dorado prison employee recalls scary June lockdown


EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) – Many viewers have reached out to KSN in the two weeks since the lockdown at El Dorado Correctional Facility. Some questions still linger.

What happened inside the prison and are the problems continuing?

Today, KSN spoke with someone very close to the situation. A current corrections officer at the prison is still pretty shaken up about his experience inside the facility in June. Because he is afraid he could lose his job, he has asked that his name not be released.

He said he felt compelled to share what he saw inside because he wants people to know how serious the situation still is.

“It was a very dangerous situation, there was inmates fighting,” he said. “They were very prepared, they were prepared to fight.”

“I had offenders throwing batteries under the doors trying to hit me,” he explained. “Bodily waste under the door trying to hit me, several inmates threatening my life.”

He also said safety is a constant worry, especially with short staffing.

“The issue with that was that we were short on staff and we didn’t have enough response to respond to all of the emergencies happening at once,” he added.

Before the incident two weeks ago, the KDOC said the department was dealing with staff shortages and started utilizing 12-hour days and overtime for workers for a 90-day period.

The employee KSN interviewed said the situation has not improved since the lockdown.

“A lot of staff are burnt out, not wanting to do their jobs and just trying to get through the day rather than enforce rules,” he explained. “People are quitting almost every single day.”

On the day of the lockdown, the KDOC released the following statement:

“A group of offenders at El Dorado Correctional Facility refused to return to their assigned cell houses. No incidents of violence have occurred, and there have been no injuries to offenders or staff.”

But the employee KSN interviewed said that kind of statement doesn’t explain what he felt when he was inside the facility.

“This was definitely my most intense situation I have ever experienced,” he added.

KSN also spoke to the head of the union that represents workers at the facility and the union leader said he has seen copies of official log books that indicate inmates were fighting inside the prison that day.

The KDOC said the incident is still under investigation and that staff and inmate safety continues to be a priority

However, they also said that 14 people have “separated employment” with the El Dorado Correctional Facility since the beginning of July.Continued Coverage from the Associated Press is below:

A newspaper says an emergency log book suggests the Kansas Department of Corrections perhaps downplayed an inmate disturbance last month at a prison.

Kansas prison officials had reported that no violence occurred and no weapons were accessed by inmates during the June 29 incident at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

But The Kansas City Star reports a log book shows there were two fights involving separate groups of inmates, at least one inmate had a weapon and at least one fire broke out.

The head of the union representing prison workers has said inmates, while refusing to return to their cell houses, controlled parts of the prison.

Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig says he hasn’t seen the log, and that no department weapons ever were possessed by the inmates.

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