KANSAS CITY — More than dozen attacks on guards at Kansas prisons have been reported this summer, including a recent fight in which an inmate used a chair against two guards, leaving one of the guards with a concussion, according to a state employees union.
Rebecca Proctor, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, which includes correctional officers at the state's adult facilities, said Thursday there have been 17 inmate-on-staff batteries since June. KOSE has discussed the issue of violence at state prisons with the Kansas Department of Corrections, but "things definitely have not gotten better."
She said a fight at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in early July involved an inmate who lashed out at two guards with a chair. One of the guards was treated for a concussion.
Other incidents at Kansas prisons since June have included an officer who needed stitches after being bitten on the forehead by an inmate, another guard who sustained a separated shoulder, concussions and "your garden variety sprains," Proctor said.
KOSE attributes the problems to understaffing and lack of proper training, she said.
"Most of our facilities here in Kansas are short-staffed," Proctor said. "We believe the shortage at most facilities in Kansas is between 10 and 20 percent."
Jeremy Barclay, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections, on Thursday confirmed the fight at the Hutchinson prison left a guard with a concussion and said the incident is under review. Barclay also said that despite normal vacancies and turnover, "overall staffing numbers are not down" and that "incidents" between staff and inmates are a "normal part of our business."