Kansas Senate leader: Governor should boost prison pay now

The Kansas Senate’s top Republican is calling on GOP Gov. Sam Brownback to give corrections officers at state prisons an immediate pay increase.

Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita issued a statement Wednesday urging Brownback to take executive action. She toured the El Dorado Correctional Facility with hometown Republican Sen. Bruce Givens.

The Department of Corrections has confirmed three inmate disturbances at the El Dorado prison in May and June and a pair of inmate-on-inmate stabbings July 28. The prison is struggling with an annual turnover rate among uniformed officers of 46 percent. They are sometimes working 16-hours shifts because of staffing shortages.

Wagle said she would leave the size of the pay increase to Brownback and Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood. She said lawmakers could cover the cost next year.