The man who heads the Kansas Department of Corrections is confident that the county jails housing state prisoners are secure enough to hold them, despite the escape of four state inmates from the Ottawa County jail last month. Some state prisoners have been transferred to county facilities to ease overcrowding. Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts says that while dangerous state offenders have since been relocated from the Ottawa County jail to other facilities, other county jails under contract with the state in Leavenworth, Butler and Cowley counties are capable of handling higher-level offenders.
Corrections officials say about 65 state inmates are housed in county jails on any given day, with most staying from 90 to 120 days in the county lock-ups. Roberts says longer-term solutions to the state's prison overcrowding problem include a request to the legislature for fuding the expansion of correctional facilities at Ellsworth, Oswego and the El Dorado prison in 2014.