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Kansas Corrections Secretary Proposes Expanding El Dorado Prison

Roberts speaking at a committee meeting at the Kansas Statehouse. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts says lawmakers should consider expanding the state prison in El Dorado as a way to address prison overcrowding. The state prison system is already over capacity and the situation is expected to get worse.

Roberts says the $27 million expansion of El Dorado would cost about the same amount as housing excess inmates in privately run prisons.

“If we’re looking at adding 1135 more offenders over the next 10 years, there’ll have to be some real decisions made as to how much permanent space you need to accommodate those numbers,” says Roberts.
There are other options to help in the short-term, such as reducing sentences for inmates who complete job training or drug treatment classes. But Roberts believes expanding the El Dorado prison is a better, long-term solution.
“It’s a more permanent option and it’s one that’s going to have to be addressed at some point,” says Roberts.
He says the state is already doing a good job of diverting non-violent offenders to programs that help them avoid prison time. 

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