Advocates urge change as virus sickens jail, prison workers

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Advocates are urging Kansas officials to release and safeguard inmates after the state prison system reported its first COVID-19 cases in three staff members and at least one jail worker in the state’s largest city was sickened.

At the Sedgwick County Jail, where officials confirmed Thursday that a detention deputy had tested positive, about 200 inmates have been released since mid-March over concerns about the coronavirus. So far state officials have no plans to release prisoners ahead of scheduled release dates since corrections officials announced Tuesday that three staff members at the Lansing Correctional Facility had tested positive.

Gov. Laura Kelly has said her office is “at the exploratory phase” in determining whether to take action regarding prisons.

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