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People living in El Dorado share similar concerns about safety of correctional facility

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From: KSN News

Concerns from some living in El Dorado after a reported riot resulted in several local agencies responding to the correctional facility.

"It is like right down the road." Haley Whattson said. "You just never know."

"If they have an outbreak, they are going to come here," said Charles Spires.

Smoke, ambulances, and a heavy police presence, all responding to an inmate led riot on Sunday afternoon.

"According to our source, they destroyed approximately $40,000 in windows alone. There were two classrooms that were set on fire. There was a building that was set on fire and that could potentially be a total loss depending on the damage there. And at a particular point of time, the inmates had control of the radios," said Sara LaFrenz, Union President of Kansas Organization State Employees.

Those are reports Kansas Department of Corrections officials said they can not confirm at this time.

Either way for people living in El Dorado, it's news they said they are becoming more familiar with.

"It is one of the most dangerous prisons," said Whattson.

"To me it is kind of normal. You worry in the back of your head, but you can't think about it all the time , but it is a concern," added Spires.

LaFrenz is worried about people inside.

"I can not stress to you enough that the source talked about how bad the situation is and how dangerous it is," she said.

Some in the community are concerned that these riots are taking too much of a toll on corrections officers.

"We are hearing the staff are working 16 hour days, and I am sure that affects there work ethic, how they perform," said Spirels

"People quit all the time," Whattson added.

According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, there are 60 vacant corrections officer positions out of 325. Those officers are tasked with managing 1,998 inmates.

KDOC officials say a severe incident review board will meet to discuss what led to the riot in the near future.

Just last August, the state made changes to help with the turnover rate at prisons. It was spurred by inmate uprisings at El Dorado and other state prisons. They increased pay by five to ten percent for all uniformed staff. The Department of Corrections also stepped up its recruitment efforts to try to ease the officer shortage.


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