Sunday, July 02, 2017
Prison riot (or some kind of event) raises questions on state and local funding
By SJ Otto
Just recently I heard about the incident at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, at their maximum-security prison. It amounted to a group of prisoners refusing to go back to their cells after being in a "common area of the prison." I have a nephew who works as a guard at that prison so I was quite concerned. He was not hurt. His mother was giving us updates on Facebook as to his status.
Whether this was an actual riot, disturbance or some other type of event is hard to say. What ever it was lasted for several hours. For a while some people were releasing statements to the press that there were weapons held by prisoners. So far, the officials of El Dorado Correction Facility have said there were no weapons by the prisoners. But there is a lot of distrust among those who have relatives in the prison or working there. Maybe there were weapons and maybe other violations occurred—But until we know more...officially it was a relatively non violent event.
According to The Wichita Eagle, a few days ago:
"Internal radio traffic at the prison indicated that “the gym, the yard, the Special Security Team office and the kitchen are all under inmate control right now,” (Robert) Choromanski said in another email. “They are refusing to vacate the area.”
So far I have not seen any reports as to why the inmates refused to return to their cells. Where there any demands? Where they just testing out the resolve of those running the prison? I have yet to see any answers.
There is one thing we can tell from all of this—as with the school system, the Kansas Legislature and our idiot governor have not adequately funded this institution. And we can ascertain that other prison facilities either are or will be facing similar problems in the near future.
Last year the The Topeka Capital Journal reported that:
"(Sam) Brownback himself is developing a budget proposal, but he has divulged few details.
Lawmakers and the governor must find a way to eliminate a $350 million shortfall in the current fiscal year, which runs through June.
State leaders need to account for a projected decrease in revenue of more than $580 million in the next fiscal year."
The main problem here is that the governor and his allies are short changing the prison systems just as they did with the school systems.
According to KAKE's Greg Miller:
"they believe approximately 120 positions are open at the facility. That number had doubled since April. Other employees site low morale, ineffective leadership and dangerous practices for so many resignations.
Family members of those employees inside the facility Thursday had gathered at a private parking lot across the street. Many of them said there have been several incidents at the prison in the last few weeks, and that they're worried about safety for guards."
That indicates that some of the problems may be local. There is little doubt that this also occurs from the dreadful under spending at the state level for paying people for dangerous jobs that are required for the safety and benefit of our local citizens. No matter what anyone thinks of our laws or prison institutions none of us are safe with underfunded and understaffed prisons.
And if the local officials at this facility are unfit for the job, they need to be replaced for the benefit of all of us.
Pix by The Topeka Capital-Journal.