Kansas lawmaker calls for special session on pay at prisons

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker who advocates increasing pay for Kansas corrections officers is calling for a special session of the Legislature to do it immediately.

Rep. J.R. Claeys of Salina said Friday that he worries that staffing shortages at state prisons are putting officers at risk.

Claeys is chairman of a House budget subcommittee on public safety and said low pay for corrections officers is a major issue in staffing shortages. It starts at $13.95 an hour.

He said the state needs to get ahead of the issue before an officer is hurt or killed.

The state’s maximum-security prison in El Dorado has seen multiple inmate disturbances in the past three months. About 23 percent of its uniformed-officer positions were open as of Tuesday.

Lawmakers adjourned for the year in June.

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