El Dorado inmate stabbed this week during fight at prison
Jul. 21, 2017
EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — An inmate has been stabbed numerous times during a fight at a south-central Kansas prison that was the scene of an hours-long disturbance last month.
Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Todd Fertig said in a written statement that the victim received "several puncture wounds in an inmate-on-inmate altercation" around 7 p.m. Wednesday at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. He said the inmate received initial treatment at the prison before being transferred to an outside medical facility for "further evaluation and treatment."
Fertig told The Associated Press Thursday that he could not comment on the inmate's condition or provide more information on ongoing investigations.
No other staff or inmate injuries were reported. The department is investigating the incident.
"I'm not surprised when there is a large number of staffing vacancies," Robert Choromanski, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, told The Associated Press. "It is hard to monitor the number of inmates."
The stabbing came less than a month after a June 29 disturbance, which Choromanski said began when some prisoners refused to return to their cell houses. Choromanski said inmates controlled parts of the prison at that time, including the gym, the yard and the kitchen. An emergency log book that The Kansas City Star reviewed suggests at least one prisoner obtained a weapon and that inmates fought. Fertig said last week that no department weapons ever were possessed by the inmates.
Even before the disturbance, the union had been complaining about understaffing as the prison population grew. The department said there were 94 staff vacancies at the El Dorado lockup as of July 5; Choromanski insisted the vacancies were as high as 125.
Choromanski also raised fresh concerns in an email this week to corrections officials and several lawmakers, saying that staff members are being asked to participate in online training while working, which would not allow them to attentively supervise offenders. He also highlighted a list of changes a correctional staffer suggested to improve safety, which included increasing the number of workers supervising inmates, improving training and boosting wages.