Former correctional officers shed light on experience at El Dorado Correctional Facility

EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) – It has been 24 hours since prison staff was able to get unruly inmates at El Dorado Correctional Facility back in their cells.

While the lockdown has been lifted, KSN is still looking into the matter.

KSN caught up with two former, veteran correctional officers this afternoon.

One of the  former correctional officers, who didn’t want to share his name, said he started working there 18 years ago.

He said he just recently left at the end of last month, due to health reasons.

The former correctional officer helped paint a clear picture of a place, he said, was once a lot of fun to work at.

“Morale was high, a lot of comradery, we had our problems, the homemade weapons, the fights, which is to be expected,” said the former correctional officer.

Another former officer, who started working there in 2007, held various titles, including being a member of the facilities Special Operations Response Team, or SORT.

“In the beginning, it was great, I mean you walked down as a team to your cell house, you talked together,” said the former SORT member.

While both officers said things were good the majority of the time they worked at the facility, things began to go downhill, as staffing started to dwindle.

“The overtime has been increasing, it has been real bad ever since about September of last year,” said the former correctional officer.

The overtime coupled with more and more gang affiliated inmates coming in from other facilities in the state added stress.

“There was an increase in illegal drugs, an increase in the homemade weapons,” said the former correctional officer.

That combination, the former correctional officer said, has left few officers keeping a watchful eye on far more inmates than they used to.

“Basically there is just the two officers that are watching however many inmates decide to come out to the yard,” said the former correctional officer.

They said yesterday’s incident, where the inmates refused to go back to their cells, is something that didn’t come as a surprise.

“I mean they just got off of lockdown yesterday when this happened, they’ve been on lockdown multiple times in the last few months, there’s been stabbings,” said the former SORT member.

Something the former SORT member feels could happen again.

“Yes, and if not worse,” said the former SORT member.

Despite low staffing and what these former corrections officers said isn’t the best pay, they said they wanted to be back working inside the facility yesterday.

The reason being, to help the other officers who they call their brothers and sisters, diffuse a very tense and hostile situation.

The KDOC does say they are short of staff right now, looking for more corrections officers.

They have not given us any other updates about yesterday’s incident.