prison

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced immediate pay increases for corrections officers during a news conference Thursday afternoon at the state prison in El Dorado. 

Brownback said all officers will receive an immediate 5 percent salary increase, and starting pay will be increased across the corrections system. The hourly pay rate for entry-level corrections officers will climb from $13.95 to $14.66.

At El Dorado, where the staff vacancy rate is 47 percent, the hiring hourly rate will go from $13.95 to $15.75, he said.

Pixabay - CC

Adam Foss, a former assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Mass., says today's justice system is the same as the one created hundreds of years ago, and it's failing a lot of people. Today, a conversation on how prosecutors can help fix the criminal justice system. Then, we get caught up on the state of organized labor in Missouri and the status of the

Courtesy Kansas Department of Corrections

A state senator is pushing for a legislative investigation of recent uprisings and disturbances at a 1,500-inmate prison near Wichita.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, on Monday proposed having legislative auditors look into incidents at the El Dorado Correctional Facility on at least four separate days in May, June and July.

Corbis / Flickr — CC

A lawsuit alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections systematically denies medical treatment to prisoners with chronic hepatitis C has taken a big leap forward after a judge certified it as a class action.

Courtesy Kansas Department of Corrections

Staffing shortages at the El Dorado Correctional Facility are creating unsafe working conditions, according to the head of the union that represents state workers.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A 35-year-old man died overnight Thursday after being restrained to a chair at the Jackson County Detention Center.

The man was brought in on a parole violation around 11 p.m. According to Jackson County spokeswoman Marshanna Hester, he was evaluated by a nurse at intake.

If you're charged with a crime and can't afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Because in our judicial system, we're supposed to be presumed innocent. But in Missouri, critics say the state's public defender system isn't doing it's job. One Kansas City man believes that system's failures lead to his life sentence. So what's going on in Missouri?

Guests:

Courtesy Kansas Department of Corrections

Editor's note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman said Thursday evening that officers at the El Dorado Correctional Facility worked during the day to get a group of inmates to return to their cells.

Todd Fertig said in an email that a group of inmates refused to return to their cells Thursday morning.

Fertig said the situation was resolved around 5 p.m. Thursday, after backup personnel were called from other facilities.

Redbull Trinker / Flickr — CC

Two former detainees at the Leavenworth Detention Center have filed a class action lawsuit over the taping of meetings and calls between inmates and their attorneys at the pretrial facility.

The lawsuit follows a similar one filed by two attorneys who alleged their phone calls and meetings with clients at the facility were taped.

With the aid of a new restorative justice program, Judi Bergquist met the man who killed her son. We hear her story, and meet the woman who brought this program to the Kansas Department of Corrections. 

Plus, how one Wichita State anthropologist stumbled upon the long-lost city of Etzanoa, an infamous Native American settlement that has remained a mystery for 400 years.

Guests:

Courtesy Lansing Historical Museum

When Jennifer Myer looks at the photographs along the wall of her tiny museum next to the Lansing Correctional Facility, the experience is "humbling," she says.

Others who've seen the images say they're "haunting."

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

The Kansas Federal Public Defender says federal prosecutors have failed to turn over all attorney-client phone calls that were recorded at the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth to a special master looking into their legality.

In a court filing Wednesday, the public defender identified recorded calls to at least two attorneys that were not disclosed by prosecutors.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Thirty years. That's how much experience the trio of actors starring in a new Kansas City Actors Theatre production have ... each. They tell us about the challenges of sustaining an acting career in the Midwest.

El Dorado Police Department

In a twisted crime spree that lasted from 1974 until 1991, Dennis Rader stalked and killed ten people in and around Wichita, Kansas. During and after the spree, he taunted pursuing authorities in letters he sent to police, local news and, once, left in a book at the public library. In the letters, Rader established his identity with a handle that caught on quickly: BTK.

Bigstock

The Missouri Department of Corrections knowingly violated the state’s Sunshine Law when it refused to provide records about applicants who sought to witness Missouri executions, an appeals court ruled today.

The ACLU had sued to obtain the information to determine if the department was choosing witnesses impartially.

In response, the corrections department produced heavily redacted records, even though many witness applicants had agreed to produce the information.

Redbull Trinker / Creative Commons-Flickr

Federal prosecutors are disputing a judge’s order directing the Justice Department to bear the costs of a special master who is examining whether recordings of attorney-client meetings at the Leavenworth Detention Center were illegal.

Jess Gamiere / www.SpecialMaster.law

The Cleveland lawyer appointed as special master to investigate the recordings of attorney-client conversations and meetings at the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth has extensive experience as a neutral third-party.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson named David R. Cohen as special master, or a third-party expert, to examine the audio and video recordings and determine whether inmates’ constitutional rights were violated.

Bigstock

One attorney said she’d never witnessed anything like it in her 26 years of practice.

Another said it was extraordinary – and painful – to watch.

Both were referring to a court hearing Wednesday in which a federal judge excoriated federal prosecutors for their handling of a drug smuggling case at the privately run Leavenworth Detention Center.

BigStock

Fallout from the disclosure that the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth had been recording attorney-client meetings and phone calls has now spread beyond Kansas.

The Federal Public Defender’s office in Kansas City, Missouri, recently sought to have one of its clients released from detention as a result of the apparent breach of attorney-client privilege.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

New revelations emerged at a court hearing today that the private prison contractor operating a pretrial detention center in Leavenworth recorded phone conversations between attorneys and their clients and turned them over to federal prosecutors.  

The disclosures came atop revelations at a hearing last Tuesday that the contractor, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), had made video recordings of meetings at the Leavenworth Detention Center between lawyers and their clients and turned those over to prosecutors.

RedBull Trinker / Flickr — CC

An investigation into the distribution of contraband at the Leavenworth Detention Center has morphed into an explosive case involving possible violations of attorney-client privilege on a massive scale.

Evidence at a hearing Tuesday revealed that the private contractor operating the facility, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), made video recordings of confidential conversations between inmates and their attorneys and passed some of it on to government prosecutors in response to a grand jury subpoena.

For children with a parent in prison, maintaining a connection can be difficult.  Steve Kraske talks with the founder of a service organization dedicated to these kids and the artist who will paint portraits of 100 prominent Kansas Citians to be auctioned off to benefit that effort.

Guests:

Steve Kraske / KCUR 89.3

On Monday, July 28, 2003, Joe Amrine was released from prison, after serving 17 years on death row for a murder he did not commit.

Four days later, shell-shocked from his first few days of freedom and swarms of media attention, Amrine appeared on KCUR’s Up To Date with Steve Kraske, wearing sunglasses.

“I didn’t want people to see the fear in my eyes,” Amrine says.

Amrine returned to Up To Date this week to give a glimpse of what life looks like for him after 13 years of freedom.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A correctional officer stands accused of smuggling tobacco, drugs and other contraband into the Leavenworth Detention Center, U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom announced Monday.

“Inmates could have their choice of vices,” Grissom said at a news conference. “Everything from methamphetamine to tobacco.”

Anthon Aiono, 28, of Platte City, Missouri, has been charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, providing methamphetamine to inmates, providing synthetic marijuana to inmates and providing tobacco products to inmates.

Netflix

Both the podcast Serial and Netflix documentary Making a Murderer have brought unprecedented attention to the work of organizations like the Kansas City-based Midwest Innocence Project.

Founded more than a decade ago at the UMKC Law School, the Project works to exonerate those people its staff believe have been wrongly convicted. 

It’s tough starting a new life after being in prison. Although there are many programs to help, a lot of them focus on male ex-cons but don’t do much for women making the transition. Journey House in Kansas City, Missouri, is giving these women — who have nowhere else to go — a place to belong and a fresh start.

Guests:

It's a collaboration that few people saw coming: the Koch Brothers, the ACLU and President Obama working together on a common cause. All three are involved in a push to pass sweeping criminal justice reform this year. We speak with one of the package's key negotiators about what they're trying to achieve.

Guest:

  • Mark Holden is general counsel for Koch Industries.

Jackson County Detention Center

For the children of incarcerated parents, the holidays are stressful enough without Mom or Dad.

That’s why a new program at the Jackson County Detention Center is helping provide Christmas gifts for kids whose mothers are in jail.

“The children of the people incarcerated here, it’s not their fault,” Rev. Gene Purtle, the detention center chaplain, says. “A stigma is often attached to them because of whatever the situation is, and I think it’s awesome that we can show them as jailers and people like myself that are part of the church that we care about them.”

The Los Angeles Times / Creative Commons

There's a federal surveillance file from the early 20th century that refers to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas during World War I as a "University of Radicalism."

"That's not hyperbole," said researcher Christina Heatherton of Trinity College in Connecticut during a conversation on Central Standard

Heatherton was writing a book on the Mexican Revolution.

In the early 20th century, new laws inspired by World War I ensnared revolutionary thinkers all over the country, and sent them all to the same place to do time: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. It turns out Leavenworth was a hotbed of radical training and thought. At the center of it all was Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon.

Guest:

  • Christina Heatherton, professor of American Studies, Trinity College

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