Kan. to send hundreds of inmates to Ariz. amid overcrowding

The Kansas DOC said Friday it had signed a contract with CoreCivic to house at least 360 inmates, and possibly up to 600 inmates


By Jonathan Shorman
The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. — Hundreds of Kansas inmates will soon be housed in a private prison in Arizona – a move by state officials to combat overcrowding in Kansas prisons.

The Kansas Department of Corrections said Friday it had signed a contract with CoreCivic to house at least 360 inmates, and possibly up to 600 inmates, at an Arizona facility. The announcement came as the state’s prison population hovered around 10,020 — 100 inmates over capacity.

Kansas will pay $74.76 per day per inmate. That’s about $9.8 million a year to house 360 inmates, or $16.3 million a year for 600 inmates.

“Sending Kansas inmates to another state is an option we wish we could avoid,” Acting Secretary Jeff Zmuda said in a statement. “Entering into this contract to accommodate growth in the prison population is the best option available at this time for the safety of our staff and inmates.”

Kansas prisons have struggled for years with chronic staff shortages and rising prison populations.

The move is likely to encounter opposition from some Senate Republicans, who have previously voiced legal liability concerns about sending inmates out of state.

According to KDOC, state officials will have unfettered access to the Arizona site to ensure conditions are appropriate. Officials will have the right to inspect the facility at any time.

©2019 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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