Kansas lawmaker calls for special session on pay at prisons

Kansas Prison_423531

FILE – This March 23, 2011, photo shows the El Dorado Correctional Facility near El Dorado, Kan. Guards at the facility say two previously unreported mass disturbances during which inmates took control for hours of parts of facility preceded a June 2017 prison uprising. Low staffing, overcrowding and general tensions have created dangerous conditions, and […]

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Republican lawmaker who advocates increasing pay for Kansas corrections officers is calling for a special session of the Legislature to do it immediately.

Rep. J.R. Claeys of Salina said Friday that he worries that staffing shortages at state prisons are putting officers at risk.

Claeys is chairman of a House budget subcommittee on public safety and said low pay for corrections officers is a major issue in staffing shortages. It starts at $13.95 an hour.

He said the state needs to get ahead of the issue before an officer is hurt or killed.

The state’s maximum-security prison in El Dorado has seen multiple inmate disturbances in the past three months. About 23 percent of its uniformed-officer positions were open as of Tuesday.

Lawmakers adjourned for the year in June.

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