Saturday, September 09, 2017

More prison disturbances—blame Gov. Brownback for doing prisons on the cheap

By SJ Otto
Doing things on the cheap has not worked out so well in Kansas where Governor Sam Brownback has cut services, such as education, to the bone in order for the state to cut taxes for businesses. It was one thing to let the schools in the state deteriorate and let  teachers leave due to bad treatment and low pay. But that is pail compared to the state's prison system and the various prisoner rebellions that have gone on for the last year.
First there was a rebellion of prisoners at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Now the rebellions have spread. The latest rebellion is at the Norton Correctional Facility, this past Tuesday. Unlike the trouble in El Dorado, this rebellion was worse and has been described as an actual prison riot by corrections officers who have spoken to The Wichita Eagle on condition of anonymity. The Kansas Department of Corrections has labelled it an "inmate disturbance."
"It wasn’t just a simple mattress burning and a couple rocks being thrown," said Robert Choromanski, the Kansas Organization of State Employees, (KOSE) the union that represents corrections officers, director said to The Wichita Eagle. Samir Arif, an agency spokesman, has said inmates set fire to a mattress, broke into a tool shed and smashed several prison windows.
Prisons across the state have had shortages of personnel and that has lead to guards working more overtime and the man-power stretched thin.
Just recently Brownback raised pay for officers at all prisons and gave officers at El Dorado an even greater raise. But this is like building a fence after the live-stock have already left. Stripping the state budget has left our prisons vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.
And one of the reasons for these disturbances is the rotten conditions the prisoners have to go through day to day. Just as cutting the budget affects the guards, it also affects those being housed in these facilities.
“Conditions out there are deplorable,” said Rick Gadbury of Topeka, a friend of an inmate in the facility. “No adequate showers, toilets or room for that many people.”
Our terrible prison conditions are one more example of the failure of Brownback and his far-far-far right-wining policies. This particular failure provides Kansans with an unsafe environment to live in.

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